Time magazine announced last week that Olympic gymnast Simone Biles its Athlete of the Year for 2021, five months after she withdrew from the team competition.
As USA Today reported at the time, Biles’s decision ruined “whatever chance the U.S. women had to win their third consecutive Olympic title.”
Despite the backlash, leftists in the media doubled down by celebrating her decision to put self before country as an act of heroism.
Not surprisingly, in their latest hagiography, Time writers Alice Park and Sean Gregory devoted more attention to “the power of athletes as activists” than they did to Biles’s glorious athletic talent.
They bizarrely situated her “courageous choice” on a woke timeline beginning with the “days of slavery” when “the bodies of [b]lack women” were “subject to fetishization,” and culminating in “the murder of George Floyd.”
Biles deserved the award, wrote Park and Gregory, because her decision to “prioritize her well-being” made her “uniquely positioned to propel mental health to the forefront of a broader cultural conversation.”
Sure, fine, don’t compete if your state of mind makes it dangerous. Do what you must.
But the integrated messaging apparatus sought to venerate this act as if it transcended victory itself.
We are present at the birth of new values.
— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) December 9, 2021
Failed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, fresh from comparing the NFL Combine to a slave auction, agreed.
“Simone Biles has used her remarkable position as the world’s greatest gymnast ever to inspire a long overdue global conversation on mental health,” the celebrated Nike pitchman told Time.
“Her influence extends far beyond the realm of sports,” Kaepernick went on, “and shows us that another world—a better world—is possible when we speak our truths with integrity and authenticity.”
Sunisa Lee, who actually won the all-around gymnastics gold in Biles’ place, is featured in the article only to praise Biles as one who “changed the way we view our well-being” and “showed us that we are more than the sport.”
If Biles’ greatness is to be measured by the refusal to “succumb to external expectations” like victory, then one is forced to wonder how she will respond to an award that makes her the new face of Woke Sports.