Last week I started to cry watching Simone Biles talk to the press after a rehearsal for the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, angry about how spectacularly and disastrously USA Gymnastics failed their athletes for years. I was in awe of how well she was able to keep it together, because she and all the other gymnasts would be more than justified in screaming at the top of their lungs to any camera in their vicinity about what they endured from former Team USA doctor and monstrous sex predator Larry Nassar. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be faced with either not competing in the sport you’ve dedicated your life to or continue to compete for the organization that failed you so terribly.
The fact that she’s not only continuing to push the boundaries of gymnastics, but using her voice to demand accountability is incredible. By the end of last weekend I was crying for a different reason, as a young woman who knows that she’s the greatest ever in her sport beamed after having won a record setting sixth all-around title.
On the first night of competition she was the first gymnast to execute a double-double dismount on balance beam. I almost burned dinner on Sunday night because I ran away from the stove to watch her floor routine, and the potential fire hazard was worth it because she was the first person to do a triple- double. Not that anyone doesn’t recognize how outrageously talented she is, but watching it in slow motion is truly insane.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) August 12, 2019
In similar news, I sat on a bench for 20 minutes on Saturday and my leg fell asleep, so when I stood up I almost went careening face first into some bushes. I managed to catch myself though so I guess we’re all capable of physical greatness, Simone. But seriously, how is what she does even physically possible? I’m fairly certain that if Isaac Newton could materialize right now and watch her he’d say “Oh shit, maybe this whole gravity thing is crap.”
And there’s still a year to go before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo! If this is what Simone Biles can do now, by that time she’s gong to glow like Captain Marvel and just fly around the stadium. For continuing on in spite of everything they’ve faced, and having to do it in the public eye, she and her fellow gymnasts are already real life superheroes.