I’m not going to pull a single quote from former gymnast and current ethics corrupter Liukin’s much-praised and shockingly awful letter slobbering all over Simone Biles. The whole thing is revolting, and as riddled with offensive anti-ethics as Sonny Corleone was riddled with bullets. Here it is—I’m going to letter each line for reference.
A. Thank you for showing the depth of who you are beyond an athlete as a leader, role model, mental health warrior, and person.
B. Thank you for epitomizing what the next generation of role models should be.
C. Thank you for creating a safer space for current and future athletes to unequivocally be themselves.
D. Thank you for helping the world realize that prioritizing your physical and mental health is the mark of a true champion.
E. Thank you for illuminating that nobody is defined by the depth of their trophy case, and that you don’t owe anything to anyone but yourself and the pursuit of happiness.
F. Thank you for taking the sport of gymnastics to new heights as the unanimous GOAT. No one will be remembered for any single routine, competition, or medal.
G.You, however, will undeniably be remembered by many for the compassion and bravery shown here in Tokyo.
H.You came here as a gymnast, and you’re leaving as a hero.
Wait, I have to gag…ACK!!PTUI!GGGGACK!
I think it’s past, but as I review this astounding exercise in gaslighting and designating as admirable what isn’t, my gorge may rise again, so you have been warned. Well..
A. Biles certainly showed who she is as “leader, role model, mental health warrior, and person.” She’s a fraud and a failure. As a leader of her team, she quit mid-battle. As a role model, she now stands for abandoning those who trust you and rely on you. “Mental health warrior”? Using mental health as an excuse to avoid responsibilities isn’t being a “warrior.” So far, there’s no evidence that Biles has any mental health malady at all. Feeling stress and pressure to perform is what her chosen profession requires.
As for those praising Biles “as a person” for failing one of the most basic test of sports, doing one’s best to compete when one is not feeling in top form—they are incomprehensible to me. This is celebrating a failure of character as a virtue.
B. Liukin is literally saying that the next generation of role models should be narcissistic quitters. God Save The United States of America.
C. I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. I think it means that future star athletes who behave like selfish assholes won’t face the same kind of criticism that every athlete before Biles would have because she got away with it. As for the imagined accomplishment of unequivocally being themselves, the concept is incompatible with being on a team, a staff, an army, or any group that has a single purpose that every member must subjugate their own needs to accomplishing.
D. “Prioritizing your physical and mental health is the mark of a true champion“? That’s interesting: so Kerri Strug was NOT a champion, then. Curt Schilling, who pitched two games with his ankle crudely stitched together to win the World Series for his team wasn’t a true champion. Ali would have been a true champion if he quit every fight as soon as his head hurt. Is that the new definition of champion? Not sacrificing for your team because it might hurt? Thanks for the clarification.
E. Not just wrong but despicably wrong: as a public figure representing her team, her sport and her nation, Biles owes a lot of people a great deal. “I don’t owe anything to anyone but myself and the pursuit of happiness’ is the credo of a sociopath.
F. No “greatest of all time” in any field, profession, pursuit or sport quit like Biles did, when so many were depending on her. She has taken her sport down to new lows. Liukin’s statement her is literally the opposite of reality.
G. What “compassion and bravery”?
H. There is no definition of “hero” that fits Biles’ behavior at the Olympics.
I know I’ve probably written about this story too much. This is the 5th Ethics Alarms post on Biles, and I don’t give a rip about the Olympics, or gymnastics, or, in the normal course if things, her. But she is an ethics corrupter, and attention must be paid. It is not “conservative” critics who have spoken the truth about Biles, it is those with consistent standards who resists narrative contrived to avoid accountability for celebrities possessing special features that some feel confer immunity from ethics. Not criticizing her high-profile selfishness and narcissism, and worse, praising it, undermines societal values, and especially the values of the rising generation. I know mine is a tiny megaphone, but one can only do what one can do. This is wrong, and the more people who understand that it is wrong, the better.