Jul 29, 2021Liked by Matthew Willis

Biles has to be one of the most mentally tough athletes ever to hv performed at that level in such a precise and precarious sport. Tiny loss of focus and as you said, potentially terrible consequences. To hv taken herself out of the comp was extraordinarily brave but also demonstrated great self awareness and wisdom. She knew.

The “twisties” in gym cannot be compared to the yips in say serving or putting, even tho they result in loss of form. They do however tell me that nerves did kick in ( due to what extremes of stress and pressure, we can only guess at). However, 24 is old for a gymnast and she was not at peak coming in. Her peak was in Rio and even earlier. The combo of external pressure, increasing awareness of her time and the difficult nature of these Olympics cannot hv helped.

I find Osaka’s situation different. I worry that she doesn’t love tennis or her chosen path quite enough. She is also a thinker, fully aware and pained by the inequalities she sees, and wants to be active on that front. To be admired and applauded but it makes for additional stress in the life of an elite athlete which asks basically for selfishness and an almost hermit like existence to achieve greatness. Hard balance. I am also concerned she may hv a tendency to depression ( purely conjecture) so I hope she can surround herself with ppl who care for her and not just her causes.

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