When Simone Biles dropped out of her Olympic competitions this week, the whole world took notice. At 24 years old Biles is the most decorated gymnast ever, she's won 36 medals—27 of those are gold. And she said via Instagram that it can feel like she "has the weight of the world," on her shoulders at times.
When an athlete performs on a stage as hallowed and renowned as the Olympics, it's not surprising to see that this can have a negative psychological effect. University of Denver professor Mark Aoyagi explains that in many ways, elite competitions are inherently unhealthy.
The stress can be even more acute for Black athletes like Biles. Sociologist Harry Edwards wrote about this over 50 years ago and says these young Olympians are forced to deal with both the aspiration and fear of "Black excellence." In participating regions, you'll also hear a local news segment that will help you make sense of what's going on in your community.
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