What Biles Has That Many Do Not: Character

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first time GOAT (Greatest of All Time) originated in September 1992, when Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s wife, incorporated G.O.A.T. Inc. Since then, others have helped themselves GOAT, often through others, and adorning fans. For example, L.L. Cool J released an album titled ‘G.O.A.T.’ Tom Brady was officially G.O.A.T.d’ in 2017, but Hank Aaron was not, simply for lacking a Most Valuable Player award. 

My experience of an actual G.O.A.T. occurred when watching ‘The Pride of The Yankees.’ One day, in Detroit, Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper) tells Yankees manager Joe McCarthy he has become a detriment to the team and benches himself. I can only imagine the amount of inner strength and inner courage to realize when one has become a detriment and when it’s time to sit out. But, unfortunately, I can’t recall ever seeing such character until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games when Simone Biles stepped aside.

Even with four Olympic gold medals and 25 world medals, Simone Biles reminded the world of her humanity when USA Gymnastics issued the statement, “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.” The U.S. women didn’t lose gold. Instead, they won silver. USA Women’s Gymnastics took home the Silver medal. “I didn’t do my job,” said Biles. “This medal is all of them and the coaches, and it has nothing to do with me because they did it without me.” That my friends is what G.O.A.T. is all about.

But as with anything in this world, Biles has detractors. After being labeled a G.O.A.T. in early July, Novak Djokovic lost his Bronze medal match to Carreno Busta. In the process, he lost his cool and tossed his racket into the stands. Apparently much ado about nothing when compared to criticism Biles received. Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz (R) tweeted Simone Biles was a “national embarrassment.” In November 2020, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton promoted Reitz ro Deputy AG for Legal Strategy. According to The Houston Chronicle, the Texas AG’s office spent 22,000 hours looking for voter fraud and uncovered just 16 cases of false addresses on registration forms. So, apparently with those damned 16 cases in the bag, the ‘strategy‘ moves to insulting Olympic medal winners, specifically black medal winners. 

One thing that Biles has that neither Paxton nor Reitz has is character. Biles character transcends gymnastics. Sure, in due time, the number of Olympic and World competition wins Biles accumulated will fade. Personally, I can’t tell you how many wins Muhammad Ali had. I never heard L.L. Cool J;s album. And while I recognize Tom Brady for all his accomplishments, if you ask me how many Super Bowl’s Brady won, I would say, “Have no idea.” But there’s something more important than wins and loses. Biles is a voice for everyone who felt marginalized. She is a voice for all who say, “You know, I can’t do this anymore and that’s ok.” As USA Today writer Nancy Armour wrote, “… in a society that still refuses to acknowledge the full worth of Black women, she [Biles] is strong and confident, unafraid to champion herself.”

The world needs more women of character. Period. 



Categories: Life Lessons

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1 reply

  1. In your final sentence, you show that you missed the point of your entire article. The world doesn’t just need wore women of character, the world needs more PEOPLE of character. Especially politicians and leaders of business, social movements and others or influence. One thing that can be said is that women just might be the leaders of this sea change. Men maybe can’t muster the character you are talking about. (To clarify, I’m a 74-year-old white male for those of you to whom that sort of thing is important.)

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