Hero or Quitter? Either Way, Biles is the Story at Summer Games
One of the great things about Bozeman and Montana is the strength of it's people. A hard working, dedicated folk that overcome trials and setbacks to tough it out and do things their way. It is that pioneer spirit that built the West.
Meanwhile, across the globe, the biggest story of this years Summer Olympics isn't about a come from behind victory, a record setting performance, or how the Games have brought the world together to celebrate greatness.
No, the biggest story of this years Summer Olympics is about iconic athlete Simone Biles and how she pulled out of the competition and whether or not she is "brave and heroic" or a "quitter".
Early last week, Biles pulled out of the all around competition as well as the individual competition. She sited her mental health as the reason for the withdrawal.
Biles, considered by many to be the greatest gymnast in the sport, had issues with one of her routines and decided that she wasn't in the right frame of mind to continue, so she withdrew. She later said that her "mind and body are simply not in sync" on an Instagram post last Friday.
In a time that we are supposed to be celebrating greatness and unity, we find ourselves being cynical and divisive. Through my admittedly limited research, (and by research I mean getting on Facebook and reading comments), this is what I found. Women tend to support and defend Biles, while men are a little more critical.
The second observation, and I know this will be shocking to you, those who identify more to the left found Biles to be an inspiration while using words such as "brave". Those who aligned themselves more to the right seemed a little more likely to view Biles as a "quitter".
Biles has trained and dedicated most of her life to a sport that has a very short shelf life. She has surely sacrificed many rites of passage that most teenage girls get to partake in. To be the very best at what you do, requires a dedication that most of us will probably never understand.
So, if it became too much for her, I can accept that. I don't know if it makes her a hero or a quitter, I just think it makes her human.