Few people thought she could do it. This 21 year old black girl from Columbus, Ohio. All Americans in Twitter land could talk about was her nappy hair. Only they understand why her hair matters that much when she represented their country so well. It concerns me that in the 21st century we are still so consumed by the color of people's skins. Why couldn't we be celebrating the fact that Simone is just a darn good athlete? Top of the pile. Cream of the crop. Instead, great emphasis is being placed on the fact that she is a black American who has accomplished the seemingly impossible task of obtaining 4 gold medals in gymnastics at the Olympic games.
Let's look away from the fact that she's a black woman for a second. I want to focus instead on the qualities she displays that I think more of us need to emulate.
The Ability to Overcome Adversity
The first few years of Simone's life were tough. Her biological mother was battling drug and alcohol addiction. At the tender age of 3, Simone and her sister Adria had to be taken in by their grandparents. This transition didn't phase her, probably because she was so young. The love and nurturing her grandparents provided also helped her deal with the transition and groom her into the humble young lady she is. Still, it can be mentally and emotionally draining to realize that your mom is facing this terrible predicament. The woman who gave birth to you isn't where you need her to be. Simone's ability to overcome that mental hurdle is testament to her strength in my opinion.
A Commitment to Perfection
Simone's gymnastic journey began when she was six years old. She saw some girls on a trip doing gymnastic tricks and immediately began imitating them. Soon after, she began training and her natural gift was evident to trainer Aimee Boorman. Despite her terrible performance at the 2013 Secret US Classic, she developed the courage to perfect her craft. The disappointment had affected her mentally, but her renewed confidence and natural ability would later help her win the 2013 P&G Championship. It was just a stream of success since then. Simone quickly became the best gymnast in the world, someone who would be really tough to beat.
Composure and Skill
Simone was the epitome of perfection in each of the events at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Although a slight error in the women's beam resulted in Simone receiving a bronze medal, she was absolutely flawless in her other events. I was mesmerized watching her throughout her floor routine. She was composed and proved that she was there to show her skill.
Why is it so astonishing that a black woman can be exceptionally good at something? Simone has proven herself in several competitions and is the best gymnast in the world. This, I believe, is due to her raw God-given talent. She should be applauded and rewarded for that. Her beauty should be appreciated. Her composure and ability to overcome her mental and social hurdles should be recognized. We can all learn to adopt even half the strength she has so that we can achieve our goals. Black, Caucasian, or Latino...race doesn't matter here. What matters is that we recognize the beautiful gift this young woman has and all she has had to overcome to showcase it to the world. Feel free to express your thoughts on this issue in the comments section below.
Published by Christine Mclean