The old adage was that “winners never quit and quitters never win.”
But in 2021, quitters can be named Athlete of the Year.
Time magazine announced Thursday that it was bestowing that honor on American gymnast Simone Biles.
Biles startled the world by dropping out of a team event at the Olympic Games this summer, saying she was not sufficiently mentally focused on what she was doing and could have injured herself had she competed in her condition.
Time explained that those old-fashioned views about athletes achieving excellence in their sports had nothing to do with its decision.
“An athlete’s clout is increasingly measured in much more than wins and losses. If 2020 showcased the power of athletes as activists after the murder of George Floyd, this year demonstrated how athletes are uniquely positioned to propel mental health to the forefront of a broader cultural conversation,” Alice Park and Sean Gregory wrote.
“Not only did I get to use my voice, but it was validated as well,” Biles told the magazine.
The article extolling her selection labeled those who believe dropping out of Olympic events partway through them is not the hallmark of a champion as “naysayers.”
Biles said that quitting was the last thing she would ever do.
“If I were going to quit, I had other opportunities to quit,” she said. “There is so much I’ve gone through in this sport, and I should have quit over all that — not at the Olympics. It makes no sense.”
Many disputed Time’s selection.
She’s the greatest of all time, but there were many other athletes more qualified to win this award over the course of 2021. I get everything is political, and you have to sell subscriptions, but this is a slap in the face to all who had a better 2021.
— twheeeeezy17 (@stanley_sitwell) December 9, 2021
Why? I think there were other candidates. This not taken away all her accomplishments and the determination she had when she neede to take a break.
— Miguel Angel (@Jamigurs) December 9, 2021
How can TIME choose her over much more deserving athletes ? Were Novak Djokovic, Caeleb Dressel, Emma Mckeon, Daniil Medvedev not deserving ?
— saket fedex (@saketfedex) December 9, 2021
Time Magazine slips deeper into the abyss
— me (@me72666332) December 9, 2021
So now they give awards to athletes that quit and leave their teammates behind. Interesting.
— Pac-Arto (@arturo1991s) December 9, 2021
Time also praised Biles for taking a stand, of sorts, on behalf of black women.
“Our bodies have always been under scrutiny,” LaNail Plummer, identified as “a therapist who specializes in providing mental-health services to Black and LGBTQ communities,” told the magazine.
“Oftentimes, Black women are not given the freedom to be able to just be authentic,” Plummer said. “Oftentimes, they have to be what somebody asked them or designed for them to be.”
Park and Gregory wrote 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.”
They said Biles has not quite single-handedly forced sports to address mental health, but “she made it that much harder to look away.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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