Here’s a good run down on what happened with Olympic gymnast Simone Biles. This didn’t have to be politicized, but it was. Someone in a right-wing pundit show called Simone a snowflake, and as a result, liberals everywhere are talking about what a hero it makes her for resigning due to mental health. As a result of the reaction from the left, the right swung harder calling her weak. Most of the time, both the left and the right need to sit down.
The comparison to Kerri Strug was not a fair one, I believe. Kerri Strug is the same age as me, and I was GLUED to the 1996 Olympics and saw it live when she hurt her ankle. The pain in her face was palpable. I remember cringing big time.
There are two sides of the argument surrounding Simone Biles resigning so abruptly due to mental health. One side is that it shows strength, and the other side is that it shows weakness. I agree with both. Depending on the person, the field, and my other factors, quitting and sticking it out can be understandable.
I do not think it should have been made so political. Trust me, if the right wing pundit hadn’t made snide remarks about Simone, many left wingers would have thought the exact same thing- that she was being weak. On the other hand, many conservatives who listen to those shows have probably quit something in their lives due to burnout or mental health and probably conveniently forget when trashing what Simone did.
On one hand, it is a little like nails on a chalkboard when people talk about what happened to Kerri Strug as if it was some kind of abuse by the system. As far as I could see both then and now, she definitely didn’t have to vault a second time. I even remember a passing clip of two Russian gymnasts crying as she was about to go for the second vault. Not crying because of winning or not winning, they were crying because they felt sorry for her.
I only mention being the same age as Kerri because I think a lot of this is generational. Most people in my generation were raised to “grin and bear it” and “succeed at all costs.” We were raised that what we do is who we are. Women especially were raised that their career, titles, education and achievements were literally our identity.
I think “Generation Z” is reversing this trend. While we did everything we were told would make us succeed, Gen Z is pretty much laughing at any and all advice and doing what they want to. I’m not saying that to sound like the bitter old lady complaining about “kids these days”, it’s just something I noticed about the shifting of society. We see it in the labor shortage as well. They aren’t following conventional wisdom, and I believe it’s largely because they watched millennials follow conventional wisdom and get screwed by it.
What does that have to do with Kerry and/or Simone? For Kerri, pressing forward was as normal as dropping out was for Simone. Two different times, two different generations. That’s just my take.