Adam Rippon just read out an emotional message to Simone Biles during his coverage of The Olympics. Rippon is a former Olympic skater, who later went on to win dancing with the stars and help cover the games. Simone Biles has been the subject of intense public conversation after dropping out of the women’s team finals and the all-around finals.
Simone Biles made the move for the sake of her mental health. And while mental health is harder to see, experts caution that it’s just as crucial to an athlete’s well-being as physical health. Simone Biles has stated in the past that she’s felt the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Adam Rippon defended her from critics earlier today.
Simone Biles was favored for Gold in almost every event. Rippon started his speech by saying that it was definitely the right move for the young athlete.
“Let’s just try and imagine the amount of expectation put on athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka. Not many people can, if anyone.” Rippon said. But that pressure isn’t just due to the fact that Biles is a star. Rippon stated that it goes much deeper.
“The extra scrutiny that female athletes face and especially Black female athletes is unfathomable, and it’s unfair,” he said. “Stress and pressure have a price and the body keeps score.”
Rippon Also Explained How Important Mental Health is to a Gymnast Like Simone Biles
“In gymnastics, mental and physical health are intertwined,” Rippon explained. “Yesterday Simone said she had ‘the twisties’ and the twisties are when a gymnast can’t find themselves in the air.” For a gymnast, navigating where you are is crucial to your safety, and getting the twisties can be incredibly dangerous.
According to Adam, when gymnasts experience the twisties they feel completely out of control. Oftentimes, their brain will want to do one thing, but the body will do another. Suffering from this means your body is terrifyingly out of sync with your mind.
Simone Biles withdrew from the finals after a particularly terrifying experience on the vault. Rippon discussed what other gymnasts had to say about it. Apparently, what happened on the vault was so off of what it was supposed to be, that Biles could have been injured beyond recovery or even paralyzed if it weren’t for her immense skill.
“Thankfully, Simone recognized that danger and chose her safety over everything else,” Rippon said. “We should trust Simone, with her resume, knows her own limits. The mentality of ‘gold at any cost’ doesn’t come without a price. As a culture, we need to redefine what it means to be brave and to be strong.”
Many believe that Biles is showing people just how strong she is. Making the decision, knowing that it would come at such a cost, must have felt impossible. Hopefully, she is setting an example for future athletes to come, and as a result, prevents needless injury.
You can watch Rippon’s full speech here: