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Wed Jul 28, 2021, 10:49 PM

Facebook Post About Simone Biles and Kerri Strug

*A friend of mine re-posted this (not sure who the original author was) about Simone Biles and Kerri Strug, it made me weep as I thought of them.

This realization I had about Simone Biles is gonna make some people mad, but oh well.

Yesterday I was excited to show my daughters Kerri Strug's famous one-leg vault. It was a defining Olympic moment that I watched live as a kid, and my girls watched raptly as Strug fell, and then limped back to leap again.

But for some reason I wasn't as inspired watching it this time. In fact, I felt a little sick. Maybe being a father and teacher has made me soft, but all I could see was how Kerri Strug looked at her coach, Bela Karolyi, with pleading, terrified eyes, while he shouted back "You can do it!" over and over again.

My daughters didn't cheer when Strug landed her second vault. Instead they frowned in concern as she collapsed in agony and frantic tears.

"Why did she jump again if she was hurt?" one of my girls asked.

I made some inane reply about the heart of a champion or Olympic spirit, but in the back of my mind a thought was festering: *She shouldn't have jumped again*

The more the thought echoed, the stronger my realization became. Coach Karolyi should have gotten his visibly injured athlete medical help immediately! Now that I have two young daughters in gymnastics, I expect their safety to be the coach's number one priority. Instead, Bela Karolyi told Strug to vault again. And he got what he wanted; a gold medal that was more important to him than his athlete's health.

I'm sure people will say "Kerri Strug was a competitor--she WANTED to push through the injury." That's probably true. But since the last Olympics we've also learned these athletes were put into positions where they could be systematically abused both emotionally and physically, all while being inundated with "win at all costs" messaging. A teenager under those conditions should have been protected, and told "No medal is worth the risk of permanent injury." In fact, we now know that Strug's vault wasn't even necessary to clinch the gold; the U.S. already had an insurmountable lead.

Nevertheless, Bela Karolyi told her to vault again according to his own recounting of their conversation:
"I can't feel my leg," Strug told Karolyi.
"We got to go one more time," Karolyi said. "Shake it out."
"Do I have to do this again?" Strug asked.
"Can you, can you?" Karolyi wanted to know.
"I don't know yet," said Strug. "I will do it. I will, I will."

The injury forced Strug's retirement at 18 years old. Dominique Moceanu, a generational talent, also retired from injuries shortly after. They were top gymnasts literally pushed to the breaking point, and then put out to pasture. Coach Karolyi and Larry Nassar (the serial sexual abuser) continued their long careers, while the athletes were treated as a disposable resource.

Today Simone Biles--the greatest gymnast of all time--chose to step back from the competition, citing concerns for mental and physical health. I've already seen comments and posts about how Biles "failed her country", "quit on us", or "can't be the greatest if she can't handle the pressure."

Those statements are no different than Coach Karolyi telling an injured teen with wide, frightened eyes: "We got to go one more time. Shake it out."

The subtext here is: "Our gold medal is more important than your well-being."
Our athletes shouldn't have to destroy themselves to meet our standards. If giving empathetic, authentic support to our Olympians means we'll earn less gold medals, I'm happy to make that trade.

Here's the message I hope we can send to Simone Biles: You are an outstanding athlete, a true role model, and a powerful woman. Nothing will change that. Please don't sacrifice your emotional or physical well-being for our entertainment or national pride. We are proud of you for being brave enough to compete, and proud of you for having the wisdom to know when to step back. Your choice makes you an even better example to our daughters than you were before. WE'RE STILL ROOTING FOR YOU!

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Reply Facebook Post About Simone Biles and Kerri Strug (Original post)
FM123 Jul 2021 OP
Dawson Leery Jul 2021 #1
Retrograde Jul 2021 #4
Best_man23 Jul 2021 #2
happybird Jul 2021 #3
crickets Jul 2021 #6
crickets Jul 2021 #5
Pas-de-Calais Jul 2021 #7
alphafemale Jul 2021 #10
tulipsandroses Jul 2021 #8
Bucky Jul 2021 #9

Response to FM123 (Original post)

Wed Jul 28, 2021, 11:00 PM

1. The Karolyis are pure bread vile communists.

That tyrannical mentality of win as call costs is the legacy of a system where there was not much success on other fronts. Winning a gold medal was the only positive that could be shown.

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Response to Dawson Leery (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 28, 2021, 11:37 PM

4. Has anyone done a study of the effects of their training

on the young women who went through their programs? And not just the Olympians, but the ones who were ranked slightly below the cut? I wonder how many young women suffered lasting disabilities because of their regimes.

I always got a creepy vibe from Bela hugging the child-looking gymnasts at the Olympics. I don't think he was a sexual predator like Nasser - at least no one's accused him - but I do think he was a psychological and physical abuser. BTW, the Netflix documentary Athlete A strongly implies that one promising gymnast, Maggie Nichols, was left off the 2016 Olympic team - Marta Karolyii had the final say - because she publicly accused Nasser of sexual abuse.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Wed Jul 28, 2021, 11:06 PM

2. By my Google Machine Search

Simone Biles can proudly hold up SIX Olympic medals from two games (four gold, one silver, and one bronze). Most people, especially the ones pushing the Enter key on their FaceBorg or Twit feeds to like or forward crap about Simone Biles have never seen, much less touched, an Olympic medal.

If Simone Biles announced tomorrow that she was getting on the plane to come back to the States and never participate in gymnastics again, she would still be the GOAT in my view.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Wed Jul 28, 2021, 11:26 PM

3. So true, love the last paragraph

Just read this on CNN. She had/probably still has “the twisties” and 1000% made the correct, smart decision. It’s basically losing your sense of where your body is in the air, article explains it well.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/28/us/simone-biles-olympics-gymnastics-physical-mental-health/index.html

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Response to happybird (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 12:09 AM

6. Good article - thanks for the link. nt

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 12:09 AM

5. K&R for visibility.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 12:26 AM

7. I had read about a 14 yr old Russian gymnast

Who was in their stable of talent. She was A talent but still being pushed.
Forced to perform a stunt she really hadn’t practiced much. Slipped on a weakened leg, from another injury, fell in pre- dismount and became an instant quadriplegic. She died at 46 yrs of age.

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Response to Pas-de-Calais (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 06:06 AM

10. Elena Mukhina, - There was a FB post about her as well

"The woman on the left is Elena Mukhina, the 1978 women's gymnastics World Champion. She broke her leg and was not permitted the appropriate time to heal. Soviet gymnastics coaches pressured doctors to remove her cast early so she could start training for the 1980 Olympics.
She protested heavily, as she knew her leg was not properly healed and would not withstand the grueling training regimen typical of her sport. Trainers and coaches dismissed her concerns and forced her to continue her training.
While practicing the Thomas Salto (since banned for being so dangerous), she underrotated due to her newly weakened leg, and she landed on her chin. She broke her neck, which rendered her quadraplegic for the rest of her life. She was 20 years old at the time and died at 46.
"

Original post is by Angie Woodson and the post is public.

It was the same coach who bullied Kerri Shugg to vault gain on a broken leg.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 12:46 AM

8. These are real people. Not performance monkeys

The people criticizing SB are likely the same people upset about rules in football meant to protect players from devastating head injuries. Athletes are supposed to put their lives, safety and health on the line for entertainment. It’s quite sickening. I recall Dave Chappel getting a lot of criticism for quitting his show. He walked away from a 50 million dollar deal. Some people just cannot fathom that someone may value other things than money fame and glory.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Thu Jul 29, 2021, 05:30 AM

9. We should also remember Julissa Gomez... who pushed too hard in the 88 Olympics and paid dearly

Julissa was first paralyzed in fall made by pressing too hard for a gold medal, then later died of her injuries.

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