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July 29, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Simone Biles honors her mental health, leaves Olympic competition

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

Summary: When U.S. gymnast Simone Biles pulled out from an Olympic competition over concern for her own mental well-being, the news sparked larger conversations around mental health, athletics and race. Yamiche Alcindor discusses those issues with Kavitha Davidson, a sportswriter for The Athletic, and sociologist Harry Edwards, author of the book, “The Revolt of the Black Athlete.”

Five Facts: 

  • Who is Simone Biles?
  • Where is she right now?
  • What are her reasons for withdrawing from the competition?
  • Why, despite her ability to retire, is she motivated to continue to compete?
  • How is the experience of Black Athletes described here? 

Discussion questions: 

Focus questions:

  • Author Harry Edwards talks about how difficult it is to exist as a person of color in America. What issues does he outline with society, specifically athletics? Based on his description, can you think of any solutions systemically that might aid athletes of color? 
  • Simone Biles withdrew from the competition honoring her mental health. What are some ways in your everyday life that you can take a break and practice self-care?

Media literacy: Why was this piece made? Who is it targeted towards? 

Dig Deeper:

  • To learn more about how Olympians are advocating for their mental health, see this article.
  • For more on the experience of Black persons in athletics, see this NPR story. 
  • For more Olympians’ stories about mental health, see this PBS article.

 

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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