Can we really understand this pressure?

By John Kanelis /

Simone Biles has walked away from Olympic glory.

Or has she? The premier U.S. gymnast took herself out of the team competition at the Tokyo Olympics the other day, citing emotional stress and unreadiness to compete.

I am not going to weigh in with a heavy-duty critique of what she did. Nor am I going to try to assess why she has bowed out and might be done altogether as the current Olympic Games plays out.

You see, few of us outsiders can understand fully the pressure, the intense scrutiny, the proverbial weight of the world pressing down on the shoulders of a young athlete who competes at the highest level imaginable.

For that reason alone — my ignorance of what she is enduring and has endured during her years on the world athletic stage — I am going to give this young woman a pass.

I want her to find peace. I want her to expunge whatever demons are lurking inside her soul. I wish her the very best … which I suppose when you add all this up is my  endorsement of Simone Biles’s decision to bow out.