As the world recovers and recuperates normality from the start of COVID-19 in 2020, many of us have been searching for entertainment, direction, and hope in 2021. TIME Magazine continues to highlight the people who brought these three things we lost a little in 2020.
One of the most influential figures from the list for me was American Olympic Gymnast, Simone Biles, with a magnificent cover page and story. Of course, we saw Biles win multiple medals in the Rio Olympics in 2016 and then at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (2021) this past summer. But, we barely saw her perform what she does best this year: gymnastics. Biles was able to participate in the balance beam event and won the bronze medal as she dealt with her mental health.
Biles told multiple sources how her mental health was suffering leading up to the Olympics and it only makes sense with the intense training she must’ve endured in the five years prior. And then, adding the pandemic into the mix was probably even more taxing, both mentally and physically.
Biles told Yahoo, “I did it for me and I was happy to be able to compete one more time…Training for five years and coming here and kind of being triggered and not being able to do anything wasn’t fun.”
As someone who suffers with mental health issues, I have been in situations where I had to do a presentation for hundreds of leering eyes, and I just knew I didn’t want to be up there. I never had the courage to say no, so when I see influential people like Biles refuse to perform her art when everyone expects her to, is really inspiring.
American Tennis champion, Serena Williams, wrote in TIME Magazine on Biles, “Simone Biles is a shining example of what success looks like when you let go of what the world thinks and gather your strength from yourself...from your soul.”
Williams sums up Biles to a tee. Biles is able to have the self-awareness and maturity to make a decision to do what she knows is right for herself while others try to push her to do things she doesn’t want to do.
I saw her as my beacon of light as an influential person in my life this year, who influenced or inspired you this year?
If you want to see everyone TIME Magazine chose for the world’s most influential people in 2021, definitely give it a read for some interesting stories from some very interesting individuals.
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