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Gymnast Who Famously Won Gold for US on Injured Ankle Speaks Out on Simone Biles

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As a jury composed of a globe full of sports fans debates whether gymnast Simone Biles was right or wrong to pull out of the women’s team event because she was unable to fully concentrate, an athlete who knows what it is like to perform in pain is weighing in.

During the 1996 Olympic Games, American gymnast Kerri Strug injured her ankle when she suffered an awkward landing after a vault.

But she did not head for the sidelines.

Instead, Strug kept competing and nailed a second vault, helping America win a gold medal even though she was hobbling in pain and hopping to keep weight off the injury after her landing.



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Following Biles’ decision to withdraw from further competition in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Strug posted on Twitter, sending her support to Biles as Strug’s example from 25 years ago began to be compared to what Biles did this week.

“Sending love to you Simone Biles,” Strug wrote, adding a goat emoji in reference to Biles’ self-proclaimed status of being the “greatest of all time.”

Strug also added a heart emoji and wrote, “Team UNITED States of America.”

The 1996 Olympian added a shout-out to the women’s gymnastics team, which won a silver medal.

“Congrats #teamusa,” she tweeted. “Great respect for all your hard work and support for each other. We are proud of you!”

Several commentators on social media weighed in, saying Strug showed the right stuff, while Biles did not.

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Among the many threads of conversation and debate that have emerged since Biles walked away from competition on Tuesday have been the winds of change in gymnastics from an era where coaches had virtually unlimited power over the athletes to one where the gymnasts have more control.

Dominique Moceanu, a member of the 1996 gymnastics team, pointed that out on Twitter.

Dominique Dawes, another former Olympian who was on the 1996 squad, said pressure can be difficult to bear.

“I felt that leading into the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia,” Dawes said, according to KXAS-TV. “We were expected to win gold, to make history, to be the first-ever women’s team to do that, and I knew, as one of the leaders of that team, that my scores really did matter, so I feel what she’s feeling, but I hope she knows that we’re behind her every step of the way, and no matter what the outcome is, we love her, and she’s a positive force for the sport of gymnastics.”

The most decorated U.S. female Olympic gymnast in history, Shannon Miller, said there is a message bigger than the pursuit of a medal that is being sent.

Should Simone Biles have dropped out of the Olympics?

“What I think is really important here is, you have Simone, who clearly knew something wasn’t quite right, and when you are flying and flipping and turning 10, 15 feet above the floor, looking for a landing, you better be in the right headspace or really bad things are going to happen,” Miller said.

“I think it’s so important for the message to be sent that it is important to be aware of your body, be aware of your emotional state and your mental state as well. I think that’s a good message for all of us.”

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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