This past week has stirred up drama in the Tokyo Olympics, and it starts with USA’s Gymnastics team. Simone Biles, who now has 7 Olympic medals and 25 world championship medals tying her for most decorated gymnast, explained after her vault performance that she would be withdrawing from the event. In the following days, she also withdrew from the uneven bars and floor exercise final. Biles cited her reasoning for the break to be mental health matters. The internet decided that wouldn't be a good enough reason to withdraw from the competition, and they began to rip her apart on social media.
If @KingJames was having an off night and knew someone on the bench would play better than him, I guarantee he’d bench himself for the better of the team and you wouldn’t question.— Eric Morrow (@ericxjm) July 28, 2021
That’s what #SimoneBiles with her team. She put the team before herself to give the best output. https://t.co/4yL0zcBRzI
However, many athletes began to change the narrative and the hate propelled a necessary conversation on athletes and mental health. Michael Phelps (28 medals: 23 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) cited to ESPN that there’s a lot of ‘weight’ on athletes shoulders and big ‘expectations’ that decorated athletes are given. His comment sparked other athletes Naomi Osaka, Katie Ledecky, and Kevin Love to share their personal challenges with mental health while being on center stage. The support from decorated olympic athletes to another, put in perspective to some of the internet trolls that mental health is physical health. As Simone later clarified on social media, her ‘mind and body’ were not in ‘sync’. This feeling is referred to as the ‘twisties’. This is when a gymnast loses their sense of spatial awareness in the air, which can result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries when a gymnast is unable to properly land. This type of disconnect is dangerous for anyone, but especially an athlete who does combinations considered ‘illegal’ in her sport.
Despite the shake up at the beginning of the week, Biles felt she had the mental toughness to preform one last time in the beam event. The gymnast showed the world that even during some of her darkest days, she could still have a spectacular performance ending with a bronze medal.
SIMONE BILES WINS BRONZE IN THE BALANCE BEAM— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 3, 2021
That's her seventh career Olympic medal, tying her with Shannon Miller for the most by any athlete in gymnastics in Team USA history pic.twitter.com/fvdiVW6j0Z
The women’s basketball team is on the road to success at the 2021 Olympics as they start out 3-0. The teams most recent victory was a 93-82 win against France. The 3 victories in the Prelims qualified the women to advance into the quarterfinals, which starts today.
The quarterfinal starts with China and Serbia at 8 PM, followed by USA and Australia at 11:40 PM. Tomorrow, Japan and Belgium takes the world stage, and later that day Spain and France will close out the quarterfinals.
Diana Taurasi has made big headlines so far with a new record. With 400 points scored at the Olympics, which is the second highest scored in USA Basketball history. She sits behind Lisa Leslie (488) and ahead of Carmelo Anthony (336) and Kevin Durant (331).
The female athletes of the USA Olympic team are embodying the term ‘go hard or go home’ with record setting performances across the board. For Katie Ledecky, this has always been the motto.
The swimmer made her debut in the 2012 London Olympic games at the age of 15. She just so happened to go home with her first, but surely not her last gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle competition. Ledecky has made herself the most decorated female with 7 olympic medals and 38 medals total from major competitions. These awards have put her in the conversation of all time greatest female swimmer, and she’s no where near finished.
In the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Ledecky has medaled 4 times so far, 2 gold and 2 silver. Most recently, she won gold in the 800 meter freestyle which gave her the most medals won by a female swimmer.
Thank you, Tokyo, and thank you all for the tremendous support this week and over the years! I could hear you all!— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) July 31, 2021
Bringing 2 Golds, 2 Silvers, and countless memories back to the USA❤️ pic.twitter.com/XpXx7oDELQ