Biles, the most decorated athlete in gymnastics history, received the honor for propelling the conversation on mental health to the forefront of the cultural zeitgeist. In withdrawing from events at the Tokyo Olympics she “made clear the importance of prioritizing oneself and refusing to succumb to external expectations,” Alice Park and Sean Gregory wrote for Time Magazine.
In the middle of the Olympics for which she had trained for five years, and which was supposed to be the triumphant capstone on a historic career, Biles slipped on her warm-up suit, packed her competition bag and told her teammates she wouldn’t be competing with them, but rather cheering them on in the team event, write Alice Park and Sean Gregory.
“I do believe everything happens for a reason, and there was a purpose,” Biles tells TIME. “Not only did I get to use my voice, but it was validated as well.”
At a time when anxiety and depression rates are skyrocketing and many people are struggling with what they owe themselves vs. what others demand of them, Biles made clear the importance of prioritizing oneself and refusing to succumb to external expectations.
With the eyes of the world upon her, she took the extraordinary step of saying: That’s enough. I’m enough.