Jul 31, 2021 Editorial
Kaieteur News – The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are in full swing, and will soon be history. Olympics are these two-week marathons of muscle and mind, skill and grit, and sensitivities and so much more that we are still to fathom the full depth of them. These trials of endurance and spirit can be the dreams of a lifetime come to fruition, or the shattering nightmares that, on occasion, are a sad accompaniment that is not so much talked about, quickly rushed past.
There are the medals and the cheers and the joy, many times the tears of delight, too. The other side of that is the pain that comes from failing, or thinking of failing and the artic reception that follows those milliseconds, that whisker, of coming up so agonizingly short. It is part of the dream and the glory, the sheer ecstasy and agony of it all. The agony can be lifelong, the sense of not being good enough, not having what it takes to be a true champion in the most recognisable of searing, demanding crucibles.
Our small contingent of athletes tried, but as should be clear to the objective, no matter how patriotic, we still have ways to go, though we keep inching nearer. We are thankful for them, and their efforts, while being fortified with the hope that we will get there on that winner’s podium someday.
On the other hand, American Simone Biles, has been there before. She has tasted the sweetness of victory, of the rapturous applause, of the accolades that never stop. But, the clock stopped for young Biles in the heat of competition, when the deep chill of responsibility, maturity, and a graceful spirituality visited her, and halted her Tokyo Olympic journey, a shade prematurely and somewhat abruptly. Something inside her stopped, and with that, something else started and powered her forward: it is time to listen to what was going on in her head, heart, and body. It was: don’t go on, it is just too dangerous, could be personally devastating. Hence, it was time for one thing only: not go forward. She didn’t, and in so doing, this young woman, this old Olympian from another year and those Games, left a powerful and inspiring message for all those who strive with their utmost, and then some.
It is knowing when to say when. For Simone Biles, when was then, as in right now; she listened to what her body and soul was telling her, whispering insistently to her. For one so young, she manifested the wisdom of ancients. Too many have ignored the warning signs inside, what the intricate mechanism of the body is sending via its built-in alarm systems. Those who did not heed early enough, have paid unbearable prices. For having lingered too long, they ended up paying the longest of penances. There was a time, when to do otherwise, which was the macho thing and go on, was the norm, the only accepted standard, regardless of what or who was involved. To bow out in a timely fashion, and retreat courageously, while still in one piece, was simply unheard of, just not done.
The body for all of its sophistication and incomparable marvels, still has its limitations, its upper ceiling, which we dare not breach, at the risk of unimaginable perils. It is well that we be so attuned to what comes from it, and in its many mysteries, that we pay heed to it, before it is too late, and from which may be not much by way of quality recovery.
The Summer Olympics, Winter ones also, are one grand spectacle: the biggest moments on the world’s biggest stage. To withdraw after progressing and so close to the pinnacle may be incomprehensible to some, a source of unpleasantness from others, but given where Simone Biles was, it was the only choice left. It took great character, much self-searching and humility, to say: it is time to step back, let go of this part of the dream, as anguishing as it may be. We wish that others similarly situated would have their priorities right, in what is of life itself, and what is of merely sporting competition alone.
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