In SummaryThe legendary gymnast receives this award as a result of speaking out on mental health.
Simone Biles, who some say is the greatest gymnast of all time, was named as Time Magazine’s 2021 Athlete of the Year. She received this award as a result of speaking out on the importance of mental health.
Biles made a huge statement when she dropped out of a team event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to prioritize herself.
“Biles made clear the importance of prioritizing oneself and refusing to succumb to external expectations. With the eyes of the world upon her, she took the extraordinary step of saying, That’s enough. I’m enough,” Alice Park and Sean Gregory wrote in Time Magazine.
What is also remarkable is that Biles is the only gymnast who survived the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal and is still competing. To this day, she is pushing USA Gymnastics and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to be held accountable for what happened to her and her fellow gymnasts.
“I definitely do think it had an effect,” she said of the burden she feels. “It’s a lot to put on one person. I feel like the guilt should be on them and should not be held over us. They should be feeling this [pain], not me.”
The seven-time Olympic medalist has been very dedicated to her craft in being the top gymnast, from her training, to dieting and sleep.
With her speaking out, it has encouraged athletes such as Naomi Osaka and Michael Phelps to speak out on their mental health.
Park and Gregory wrote in Time Magazine that “when a Black female athlete like Biles takes visible steps to safeguard her own mental and physical health, to indicate that it’s worth protecting, that action carries a special power.”