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 ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.