Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time, is a household name across the world. Furthermore, her seven Olympics medals tie her are the most Olympic medals by an American gymnast.
At the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Biles had opted out of her team event owing to a case of the ‘twisties’. In fact, this sparked a global conversation about mental health. Moreover, people across the world praised Biles for advocating mental health and putting herself first.
In that vein, USA Today chose to honor her as one of the women of the year 2022. However, many have taken offense to the issue, including commentator and author Liz Wheeler.
Liz Wheeler slams Simone Biles for Women of the Year nomination
Simone Biles is one of USA Today’s Honorees of the Women of The Year list. However, popular commentator and podcast host Liz Wheeler has slammed the nomination.
She talked at length about how preposterous the nomination was. In fact, Wheeler even stated that Simone’s actions last year at the Tokyo Olympics were not exemplary at all.
Firstly, Wheeler remarked that “we honor what we encourage” as a society. In that vein, she stated how society honors those who are punctual and display exemplary traits.
Thus, she then stated how Simone Biles was “supposed to be the all-star of the United States, and she just dropped out”. Wheeler said that she was “not trying to degrade or diminish” Simone’s case of the twisties last year.
However, she took offense to USA Today’s statement on Simone about becoming “a fierce advocate for mental health” at last year’s Olympics. “It sounds like Twisties is less of a mental health issue and more of a physical issue,” Liz stated.
Even if nerves were behind Biles’ twisties, “then it’s not so much of a mental health issue as you froze,” Liz said. “You froze in the moment of truth. This is not something that we have traditionally honored,” she continued.
Wheeler calls Biles’ award undeserved
“We don’t want to honor chickening out,” Wheeler critiqued. “We want people to push through”. Thus, she stated how she “didn’t like how they handled this at the time”.
“Why are we encouraging this behavior from this individual?” Wheeler stated this as a question one must ask when honoring someone. Returning to Simone Biles in particular, she said, “it’s not a good behavior to encourage”.
“If she got sick, fine. She can’t help that”. However, Wheeler expressed her disgruntlement with Simone for making it “seem that this was all about her and not about her teammates” and her country.
In the end, Wheeler clearly stated that she was, in fact, not shaming Simone Biles. Instead, she was “identifying a behavior that is not a wholesome behavior for our society”.
Thus, she expressed her stand against USA Today for “trying to honor her (Simone) for that very behavior”. “I think it’s quite undeserved,” she finished.