Last updated on 13/08/2021
*GOAT = Greatest Of All Time
Watching Simone Biles do her thing – Floor, Beam, Vault, Uneven Bars – is a usually a JOY.
I started drafting this before today’s events had her pull out of the Team Final. I very much hope that she’ll, as Aly Raisman told Christiane Amanpour tonight, wake up feeling good tomorrow and be able to compete in the four individual events but the rest of what I’d already written still stands.
She is a phenomenon. Human, obviously. Even though, not only has she had to deal with the pressures all Olympic athletes face and the hype she’s had around her for years but being a trauma survivor AND regular ‘othering’ by judges who have been PENALISING her for being an astonishingly excellent gymnast for years (including the other day in the Team qualifiers).
Her going back to the gym to support her team mates and speaking out positively on the importance of her and others’ mental health is yet another example of her classy grace even on what, I imagine, has been one of the worse days of her life.
She makes me believe that anything is possible
What feels like hundreds of years ago, at a VDay conference in NYC, Eve Ensler (now known as V) talked about the energy it takes for survivors to survive and do basic daily anything
This was before I became a trauma therapist myself and at a time when I often didn’t know if I’d carry on surviving, so much of my energy was going on attempting to both forget and remember fragments from decades earlier as well as more recent. Here are some simple and effective self care ideas to help you help yourself
This is why Simone Biles continues to inspire me and so many others. (I’ve blogged about them before).
She is the only remaining Nassar survivor (that we know about) in elite gymnastics and has spoken about this being why she doesn’t retire from the sport in spite of ridiculous treatment (one of the commentators today talked about her stern expression when she was wearing a MASK).
The only sport I watch is Olympic gymnastics.
Watching Gabby Douglas (another phenomenal gymnast and two time Olympian and Nassar survivor) in 2012 was the first time I watched in and ENJOYED it. She was so accomplished and somehow made it look easy. I was able to park the worry I feel for all gymnasts and simply be in awe.
Aly Raisman is another survivor telling Amanpour, tonight, that she still deals with the trauma on a daily basis. Her impact statement during the Nassar trial was incredible. Even now, she’s fighting for proper answers
The realisation that she, Douglas, Biles and others had had to deal with that on top of all that goes with being Olympians still makes my head spin.
This post is not to put pressure on trauma survivors to become Olympian equivalents but to ask yourself:
What feels like YOUR Olympics today? It might be something big, work wise. It might simply be getting dressed.
What can you give yourself imaginary Olympic Gold Medals for (eg, being patient with yourself when in the past you’d have gone into a self-loathing spiral)?
What gives you HOPE?
What inspires you?
Where might you bring more focus and discipline to your life?
How else might you learn from Olympians in a way that enriches your life?
Personally speaking, I’m releasing my delusions but will never (until I have to) stop cartwheeling. You can watch my efforts from the other day HERE
I hope that Biles feels better tomorrow and is able to compete in the individual events.
Whatever happens, though, Simone Biles has again been an amazing role model
Both in terms of recognising that with her head not being in the game, she could seriously injure herself and giving herself the time and space she needs to look after herself. Now THAT’s self care.
How, like Simone, might you honour your body and mind and not push yourself TOO far but instead, risk disappointing others while you look after yourself?