EDUCATION BEAT: Calling Simone Biles a let go | Education

Ben Talley | Education Beat

Some people call Olympic athlete Simone Biles a coward. (In case you haven’t heard the news, the very famous American gymnast world champion recently opted out of several of her scheduled Olympic events due to mental health issues.)

I was taught very early in my life to “never give up” anything. My personal determination to form an iron will has served me well in this life, indeed. Once I decide to do something, I tend to do it.

But there are always exceptions to the rules.

Simon Biles, perhaps the greatest gymnast of all time; Michael Phelps, arguably the greatest swimmer of all time; Naomi Osaki, one of the best tennis players in the world: Each of these world-class athletes recently made the news for publicly sharing how they consistently struggle with mental illness in one form or another.

Therefore; let this much-needed conversation (about how our sports heroes and heroines deal with mental health issues) begin.

Most of us feel the urge to “identify” with our heroes and heroines in one way or another. What better way than them to show us that they feel the same emotions as us?

Certainly, one of the biggest lessons that sports champions can teach us is how to deal with our wildest emotions under immense pressure.

But what about when such champions falter? Should we think less of them when they turn out to be as “human” as the rest of us?

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