What a weird world is social media. People are social beings.
This is the definition I found when I put ‘social’ into Google. Seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
I am here trying to be sociable with fellow bloggers – all very good. But it can turn on you.
Social Media – Hostile One Day Adulation Two Days Later
However Simone Biles faced a hostile social media when she pulled out of her Gymnastic events after she removed herself after a shaky performance on the vault during the first rotation.
“Twisties” a ruinous mental block that had forced her to withdraw from the all round vault, uneven bars and floor finals. Her routines in those events are so packed with explosive and spectacular twists, that any mid air loss of orientation, could be dangerous. She had lost the synchrony between her mind and body.
Simone cummented to her 6.6 million Instagram followers, “literally cannot tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body”. These were the dreaded “twisties” when stressed-out gymnasts fly through the air not sure if they will land on their feet or their head.
“That’s when the wires snapped”, she said. Things were not connecting. People say it stress-related. I cannot tell because I felt fine”.
She endured accusations on social media, that she had quit on her team-mates. Her aunt died.People being nice sent her into tears.
You Only Have To Look Behind The Scenes
These games brought angst and fear, and tears, but Biles 24, has come to represent something more than superhuman, athleticism.
She has talked as a fostered child who is one of hundreds of victims of sexual abuse at the hands of a former USA Gymnastics, Doctor of life struggles.
Flips and leaps that she has done 1000s of times, as if cleaning her teeth was suddenly fraught with danger.
But it is not hard to think that a radical honesty about her struggles, her breaking of an omerta, has created a little space for this.
Perhaps some reflection, her undoing was her power,
Biles could have walked away, but she found the resolve to return for the final women’s event, the balance beam.
Here is an athlete that despite all of this background has won in the past four gold medals.
AND yet there are social media posts that are saying she had let team down.
UUUrghhh I want to scream
“I Did It For Me”
Here is the strange thing.
I watched Simone’s comback performance about six times and she had only won a bronze medal.
I haven’t actually seen the performances by Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing the brilliant Chinese gymnasts who got gold and silver.
Sport loves a comeback and this was one to celebrate as the American gymnast overcame the debilitating mental block that had turned her pursuit of Olympic greatness, into a scary ideal.
The place where Simone Biles felt most secure was on the sprung suede top plank, four inches in breadth and this was her safe place.
Yet here she was back on the Olympic stage as millions held their breath, pulling off a perfect backward double somersault on a 10 centimetre beam. Biles eschewed her normal dismount, a double twisting double-tucked salto in favour of a simpler double pike, thus avoiding twists altogether.
Biles delivered a neat happy ending for the watching world, a moment of catharsis for herself a result that would have read like a failure fortnight ago, but which felt like a victory here.
From the “twisties” and turns of Simone Biles turbulent journey at theTokyo Olympics came a bronze medal. A seventh Olympic medal.
A miniature human drama of courage and resilience
Simone – “I’m glad to bring the conversation of mental health to the light of world because we have to realise that we’re humans, not just entertainment” she said “there are things going on behind the scenes that people have no idea about”.
“I did it for me” she said