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Simone Biles doesn’t have time for bullying. She’s shared how criticism of her body has been difficult for her. As part of her amazing proactive response to that, in the run-up to the Olympics, she’s partnered with beauty brand SK-II for a campaign to end competition around appearance. One of the things that I respect about Simone is that she’s honest about the garbage that she has to deal with, and she calls it out. Last summer, she blasted USA Gymnastics for failing to do its “one damn job”: protecting athletes who were assaulted by Larry Nassar. She had spoken in 2018 about being one of his victims.
So when USA Gymnastics wished Simone a happy birthday on Saturday, she wasn’t moved. She turned 23, and USA Gymnastics tweeted her happy birthday. A few hours later, Simone responded:
how about you amaze me and do the right thing… have an independent investigation https://t.co/58Gc9QUk76
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) March 14, 2020
Good. For. Her. I love that Simone isn’t going to drop this. She shouldn’t! But I love that she had zero qualms about publicly calling out the organization when they sent her a birthday message.
In late January, USA Gymnastics offered Larry Nassar’s victims a $215 million settlement as part of a plan for the organization to exit bankruptcy. The victims can either collectively vote to accept the settlement, or continue to pursue individual lawsuits. CNN reported that there were an estimated 350-400 claims nationwide. It’s such a crock, though I’m not surprised. USAG just hopes that everyone will go away quietly if they get money. I’m glad that Simone isn’t backing down.
Simone posted on Instagram to celebrate her birthday:
She posted again Sunday, so it looks like she’s enjoying her birthday weekend. Happy Birthday, Simone!
photos credit: Avalon.red and Getty
Now that’s a true leader! I already had so much respect for her talent and skill alone, but the way she has stood up for herself and for others, and continues to do so, is so impressive.
Simone is a national treasure. She gives me bright hope for the future.
Happy birthday, amazing lady. I hope you get the justice you want. Weinstein’s sentence has given me hope.
What a badass. I love that little girls who watched her compete in the Olympics also see her fighting for what’s right. Just awesome.
Love her! Proud of her for standing up.
I just love her. I am so proud of her for standing up and saying enough is enough.
My god. 350-400 claims 🙁
Those numbers are staggering. Someone had to know something.
Simone is brave and strong in life as in gymnastics.
It’s disgusting! What was so special about Nasser that he was allowed to do this to at least 400 women (then girls)? Who else is guilty? Why did they ignore it for so long?
welp. Their PR move attempting to divert attention from the horrors they’ve been involved in, succeeded only in bringing it back into the news cycle. I’m guessing they’ll think twice before they wish another gymnast happy birthday.
She is so talented and adorable! Love her. The pics she posts of her and her boyfriend are so cute.
I’m so proud of her! It is unconscionable how USAG and other organizations have responded–by not responding–to the reasonable requests made by Rachael Denhollander and a few of the elite gymnasts who have come forward about the abuse. Simone is standing up publicly to call these people out, and I’m proud of her.
If you haven’t read Rachel’s book about Larry Nasser and all she did to bring that case to court…you should. It’s mind-blowing, and that man alone had hundreds of victims. Rachael is now fighting to hold USAG’s feet to the fire over the entire system of abuse and cover-up. She is also bringing awareness to systemic abuse in the SBC (her former denomination/church).
Simone is a part of that advocacy and work, too, and it takes guts to openly defy powerful people like that and allow people in to such a personal tragedy. It means suffering constant reminders of abuse they work hard to move on from, and it means having to deal with and be confronted by people who could have helped, should have helped, and are still refusing to help. Not only is this woman the greatest of all time…she’s a gem of a human being.