Today is our last day of vacation, and Bill and I really should be heading into Copenhagen to get some last photos. BUT FIRST… I feel compelled to vent my spleen about something I read in the New York Times the other day.
Extraordinarily gifted women’s gymnast Simone Biles has decided to train for her third Olympic Games. Plenty of people commenting on the news article about Ms. Biles were very supportive of her efforts, even though she’s considered “old” for the sport, and even though she withdrew from some events during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2021. Simone Biles was, if you recall, suffering from “the twisties”, which made competing even more dangerous than it usually is. She opted out of competing to protect her own health and wellbeing, which I think is her right.
But there were quite a few other comments, mostly from MALES, about how Simone Biles let America down in the last Summer Olympics. It always amazes me what these people think they have the right to comment on. I highly doubt most of the MALES commenting on women’s gymnastics even watch the sport. And a lot of them who do watch it probably just like looking at tiny women in revealing leotards doing death defying stunts.
It’s true that Simone Biles withdrew from several events and took up a spot that another athlete could have filled. But another American ultimately won the Olympic gold medal in the All Around competition, anyway. When I pointed that out, some guy posted that the women’s gymnastics team didn’t get the team gold medal. My reply to that is, “So what?” It’s a fucking medal. It’s not worth someone’s life or health.
Aren’t the Olympics supposed to be about “friendly” sports competitions among the world’s nations? Aren’t we supposed to be practicing good sportsmanship? Why is it so important to win medals? The medal isn’t worth someone’s ability to walk or talk. It’s not worth someone going through life with chronic pain due to preventable injuries brought on by taking risks and failing. It’s certainly not worth DEATH.
Women’s gymnastics at the elite level is a very dangerous sport. Many wonderful, extremely talented athletes have been seriously hurt or even killed due to performing when they weren’t ready or completely prepared. I would not have wanted to see Simone trying to land a difficult vault while she was suffering from the twisties. We would not have wanted to see her fail, especially if her failure included a catastrophic injury broadcasted on live television and the Internet. The Olympic medal is not worth that. It’s toxic to insist that an Olympic gold medal is worth all costs… especially when you’re a MALE who can’t do any of the things Simone makes look easy.
Some guy wanted to argue with me about this and I wrote that he wasn’t going to be someone with whom I should waste my time and energy arguing. I wished him a “nice day”. He wished me luck in my “safe space”. Translation? I bet he’s a Trump supporter who doesn’t see women as valuable in any capacity other than as objects of titillation. He obviously doesn’t care about female athletes as people. I probably shouldn’t have bothered, but I left him a short response… “I’m not in a ‘safe space’. I’m just right about this.” And while I didn’t bother to check his Facebook profile to see which politician he supports, I’m pretty sure I know…
Guys like him wear their political preferences like a badge, not unlike the idiot men I wrote about a few years ago who decided to test out a bullet proof vest while drinking. I knew they were Trump supporters just based on that, and when I checked out their social media profiles, I was proven right.
Simone Biles doesn’t owe anyone a goddamned thing. If she wants to try for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, that’s her prerogative. She may not be successful. Shannon Miller tried to make the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and she failed. Biles may fail, too. But she has the right to try if she wants to, and she should be respected for all she’s done so far. She’s won seven medals for Old Glory. I’m sure that’s way more than the moron male on Facebook has ever won.
It’s not just the athletes who have this ridiculous burden, either. Artists and performers face it, too. Maybe if people hadn’t expected so much of performers like Tom Petty, Karen Carpenter, Prince, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, and the like, they might all still be with us.
I’m sick and tired of toxic macho asswipes who armchair quarterback what extraordinary artists and athletes should be doing with their careers. It’s especially prevalent among men who comment on females. It’s the usual sexist bullshit… and in Biles’s case, it wouldn’t surprise me if racism came into play, too.
These guys have no room to talk about someone like Simone Biles. They probably ought to zip it… but we know they won’t. So I’ll just keep venting about it, as I wish Simone Biles the best of luck with her comeback. I hope she wipes the self-righteous smirks off the faces of the idiots who criticize her… but if she doesn’t manage to do that, that’s alright, too. She’s certainly done her part to “make America great,” and what she’s done is something I’d be proud to show my pseudo grandkids. I can’t say the same thing about Trump and his toxic macho ilk… and those who admire him.