How Simone Biles Inspires Me

The Final Five.

These five amazing young ladies are representing the United States in gymnastics at the Olympics and have really got the whole world excited about gymnastics, which interestingly has always been my favorite Olympics sport. We all already know just how great these girls are. They really are all pretty exceptional. But you will have to excuse my bias while I focus on just one, Simone Biles. She’s 4’8 of magic. And she inspires me a great deal. I’ll tell you why.

First,  I am super proud of the chic, like she’s my own younger sister. She has been called the greatest even by historically great gymnasts. In a short video about her on New York Times, she was said to now be competing against herself. Since no one could beat her, and she was technically in the lead by a whole lot, it was fair to indeed say she was competing against herself. She doesn’t lead by one tenths or three tenths like it usually is in gymnastics. No, Biles leads by a whole point or even two sometimes. There is a technique called “The Biles” that can only be done by…you guessed right, Simone Biles. Most gymnasts are usually exceptional in just one aspect. Not Biles; she’s phenomenal on the floor, on the beam, and on the vault. She is all shades of awesome. She is extraordinary. And she is just nineteen. As if all that was not enough, when people tried to compare her with other great athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, she responded: “I am not the next Usain Bolt or the next Michael Phelps. I am the first Simone Biles.” Boss. Magic. Excellence. Yeah uhhh, Black women did that.

Her life is full of great lessons and like I said she inspires me a lot.

You see, we are only seeing the final outcome. We are only seeing the well-crafted finesse and that elegance with which these girls contour their bodies into different shapes while hanging mid air, before a perfect landing. What we seldom see is the years and years of efforts that have gone into practice. While talking sometime last week, my brother mentioned some of the weaker athletes in the Olympics who are doing poorly in contrast to their U.S counterparts. I remember reiterating that we must NEVER forget that some of these U.S candidates have enabling environments and countless resources that set them up for victory. Some of them have spent every waking moment of the last four years focused on honing their craft.

What Biles and her teammates teach me is that there is no way you put that much dedication and commitment into one thing and you don’t succeed in that thing. Now combine all that with a natural flair for the thing. You’ll get excellence. You’ll become extraordinary. When she was asked how she is usually so confident, Biles responds that her confidence comes from years and years of insane practice; of spending no less than six hours per day in the gym; of working insanely hard. Most times, there are rarely shortcuts to success. Rarely. Biles said people tend to forget that although they may only perform for about a minute and thirty seconds or sometimes less, hundreds of hours have been invested in practice. We are sometimes not confident because we have not worked hard enough.
There is a video where one of Biles’ teammates, Laura Hernandez was about to do her thing and she said “I GOT THIS” before starting her routine. That was not just a mumble jumble she recites before each routine. No. She actually GOT it. She has worked hard and was therefore ready.

Another salient factor is making mistakes. Although they are the dream team, they are not infallible. However, Biles said something in an interview that has stayed with me since I heard. (If you can't already tell, I have invested hours into this girl's life. ) Anyway, she said that when she starts a routine and she makes a mistake, she NEVER lets it distract her from continuing. According to her, if she focuses too much on that mistake, the entire routine might end up being crap. If however, she continues her routine as usual, there is a huge possibility of redeeming herself from that mistake with a perfect conclusion. Rather than dwell too much on how something could have been, how about focus instead on what can still happen.

One last thing Biles taught me is to just have fun while doing ya darn thing. Legend has it that if Biles starts a routine by being too serious; if she starts a routine without goofing around or grinning, she would most likely stumble. Don't take life too seriously. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.

Oh and don't forget to have a celebratory pizza, The Final Five style ;-)

So while I LOVE Biles and admire the FINAL FIVE, they are reminders that if I have the grace of God (which I do) and I commit to something, there is no stopping me (or you). The sky would be the only limit.



P.S: Shout out to every Nigerian representing us (Nigeria) at the Olympics. That anyone can give that much to a country that has literally given them nothing is true heroism. We see you and we are proud of you, despite the shameless Nigerian sports ministry. We see you. Thank you.

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