EDITORIAL – Celebrities not the only ones suffering from mental illness

An  editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

MENTAL HEALTH is suddenly popular, at least in the sense that everybody’s talking about it. Yesterday, American superstar gymnast Simone Biles won a bronze medal on the balance beam at the COVID Games. Normally, it would have been a crushing disappointment but this time it was considered an achievement.

That’s because Biles withdrew from most of the gymnastics events a week earlier, citing mental health issues.

Two months ago, Japanese tennis phenom Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open due to her own mental health challenges arising from her shyness.

Some reaction painted both of them as spoiled whiners unable to take a little pressure. ‘Simone Biles is no hero; she is a quitter’ was how a Washington Times columnist put it. For the most part, though, they were celebrated in the media and by their fellow competitors as heroes for speaking up.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9233 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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