Simone Biles practices a jump in training at the Ariake Gymnastics Center in Tokyo.LOIC VENANCE / AFP
Simone Biles withdraws from the team final due to a mental health problem
In the old task of making the Olympic Games a few weeks in which to fulfill one of the assertions of its modern founder, Pierre de Coubertain ("Olympism is not a system, but an ethical-moral intellectual stance"), the resignation of Simone Biles to complete her participation in the final by artistic gymnastics teams must be listed among the historical feats of the Games, those that transcend the sporting feat and represent a political and social knock-on; in short, a lesson to take note of.
Biles, for example, does not give lessons when she is in the air executing a movement because there is no one on the planet who can aspire to do what she does; Biles did teach a lesson when this Tuesday he went down to the ground, looked for a microphone and said, simply, that he could not with the pressure. That he was no longer competing that day; that he would see how his head evolved for the following days. Of that yes we can know the others, of mental health: of not giving importance or shutting up, of not caring or hurting her, of being afraid of what many people think of you because when it shines on the outside it makes it impossible for something to be wrong inside , as happened to Biles when he made his medical leave public.
(The reaction - minority - in networks has been especially grotesque, describing it as weak or incapable, two typical adjectives suffered by those who collapse or break; two adjectives with which no one would describe someone who breaks a leg or an arm, in the case of health as well Special mention to the complaint of receiving affectionate treatment for being a woman because, I have come to read, if that had happened to LeBron James or Tom Brady - something seems impossible - the reaction would be furious; macho clichés that flow uncontrollably and Of which part of the Spanish press does not escape, busy in making known female sports stars through their connections, of any kind, with men,in such a way that we all hope that the next medalist will be presented as "The Olympic gold that once greeted Patxi Salinas on the plane" or something like that).
The truth is that when Simone Biles, the closest thing there can be to a comic book superhero, says that she can't take it anymore, she puts a health problem on a massive stage that usually occupies minimal forums and counted public references. It also makes you look at a very delicate matter related to your health and, at the same time, with your image, tied to what is still perceived as an uncontrolled problem, which is not known when it will lurk or worse still, which will lurk in the most demanding moments (as if physical injuries could be prophesied).
But, above all, it sends a message to those who are still psychologically depleted when not in frank depression or disorder, continue as if nothing else until the wheel stops or bursts; to governments that still do not have mental health among their priorities when one of its most catastrophic consequences, suicide, is one of the first national problems; and the general public to teach them that not even superstars (and this in particular, representing women, black women, victims of sexual abuse and their country) are free to go bankrupt in the moment of glory, and by breaking and saying so they give the full meaning of an Olympic Games, the competition that recalls with equal calls sports, political and social events that first moved and later helped to improve the world.