I’ve never been an elite athlete like Simone Biles. I’ll never know what it is like to have the entire world watching me work, evaluating every move I make, analyzing every misstep.
But I have been in situations where my actions had long-lasting impacts on my staff, employees, clients, and their families, where a misstep meant possible hardship in the lives of those depending on me.
Like most lawyers, I know what it is like to work under pressure, be evaluated by my clients and colleagues, and have opposing counsel lying in wait for me to make a mistake. I’m grateful that LCL supports our profession on these and other challenges every day.
When 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist and world champion Simone Biles withdrew from this year’s Olympic events, she stepped aside for her mental health and the good of her team. Ms. Biles is no stranger to the pressure and stress of competing at the Olympics level. She knows what it takes to compete at those levels because she has done so since 2013.
She also knows that a large part of competing at any level demands she be in top form both physically and mentally. When she withdrew herself from Olympic events, she acknowledged that she wasn’t in the required mental place. In doing so, she provided an incredible example of self-care, self-knowledge, and self-compassion.
In the days since, she has been both praised and condemned for her decision. Yet by stepping aside, she opened up opportunities for her other teammates to shine, such as Minnesota’s own, now gold medalist, Sunisa Lee of Team USA. Even without those successes, Biles’ withdrawal was self-aware and supportive of her teammates.
No one knows what would have happened if Simone Biles had chosen to continue competing rather than withdrawing. Would the USA have won the team gold medal instead of Russia? Would Ms. Biles have sustained a career-ending injury? No one can say with any certainty. We know that Simone Biles put her oxygen mask on first before helping her team the best way she could at the time. We have all gained a valuable lesson in leadership.
She is, indeed, the Greatest of All Time.