Simone Biles targeted by mean trolls after being named Time's Athlete of the Year

<p>American gymnast Simone Biles has struggled with her mental health (Mike Egerton/PA)</p>

American gymnast Simone Biles has struggled with her mental health (Mike Egerton/PA)

PA Wire

Simone Biles has been named Time magazine’s Athlete of the Year. The honor comes after she displayed an outstanding amount of courage when she prioritized her mental health during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Only weeks later, Biles took the stand to testify against former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

One of the most celebrated gymnasts, Biles’s decision to pull out of several events at the Tokyo Games—citing her declining mental health—was criticized by many.

But her teammates disagreed, instead viewing her actions as heroic and applauded Biles for putting her wellness first.

“To see her choose herself, we’re going to see the effects of that for the next generation,” Allyson Felix told Time.

Biles’ teammate Sunisa Lee explained how monumental Biles’ decision was, “What Simone did changed the way we view our well-being, 100%. It showed us that we are more than the sport, that we are human beings who also can have days that are hard. It really humanized us.”

“We all knew we had to continue not without her, but for her,” Lee added.

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Prioritizing your mental health is still widely unaccepted by many, with many finding doing so as an act of weakness instead of what it really is, brave.

With Time’s decision came both praise for Biles, and inevitably lots of criticism.

“She’s the greatest of all time, but there were many other athletes more qualified to win this award over the course of 2021. I get everything is political, and you have to sell subscriptions, but this is a slap in the face to all who had a better 2021,” wrote one.

And, inevitably, trolls began to pile in.

“How about celebrating a paralympian that overcame a mountain of challenges to reach the peak?” read another, “Why are we celebrating quitting when so many people pushed through to realize the impossible?”

One Twitter user said, “So she quits her team in the middle of the Olympics because she lacked psychological preparation and not only is she congratulated for that, but she gets an award too. Maybe those who worked, who didn't quit and who actually won should learn something out of this.”

“So now they give awards to athletes that quit and leave their teammates behind. Interesting,” complained another.

Another slammed Biles, saying: “Now you don't even have to compete when your team needs you to win the gold. Too much anxiety for something you do 10 hours a day, in front of an empty stadium. At least the doubles badminton was worth watching.”

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