Dominique Moceanu took to Twitter to share the painful experience she had to go through as a kid at the Olympics and was happy to note that times have changed.
Simone Biles, who is easily considered the greatest gymnast of all time, decided to withdraw from the individual and team gymnastics final games at the Tokyo Olympics. She decided to prioritize her mental health and has been praised for taking this bold step. This has helped further the conversation about the importance of taking care of oneself and putting your mental health first. Biles stated how Naomi Osaka's move to protect her mental health encouraged her to do the same, as per NPR. The world is in awe of strong Black women athletes leading the conversation about the importance of mental health.
Dominique Moceanu Posts Clip of 1996 Injury to Support Simone Biles: 'I NEVER' Had Say in My Health https://t.co/jWD084bvfE— People (@people) July 28, 2021
Times have changed and we have come a long way with regard to the autonomy of the athletes. Praising Biles' decision is former US Olympic Gold medalist gymnast Dominique Moceanu. She thinks of it as a powerful stance against the "abuse" commonly experienced in the sport. Moceanu took to Twitter to share the painful experience she had to go through as a kid at the Olympics. She wrote: "I was 14 y/o w/ a tibial stress fracture, left alone w/ no cervical spine exam after this fall. I competed on the Olympic floor final minutes later. @Simone_Biles decision demonstrates that we have a say in our own health—'a say' I NEVER felt I had as an Olympian."
She even attached a video of her routine on the balance beam and the painful moment she made a bad landing on her head. In a follow-up tweet she added, "In our sport, we essentially dive into a pool w/ no water. When you lose your ability to find the ground—which appears to be part of @Simone_Biles decision—-the consequences can be catastrophic. She made the right decision for the team & herself." Moceanu earned her gold as part of the U.S. team, dubbed the “Magnificent Seven,” which won the women’s team title, reported The Huffington Post.
Speaking to TODAY the former Olympian stated, "Many of you have seen my fall from the event finals on the balance beam where I fell on my head. I didn't even have anybody do a cervical spine X-ray at that time, and I think I still have a bump on my head from that time." She was 14 at the time and is now 39. "Nobody ever checked it, and so right now, Simone is making a decision that could really be beneficial to her future...You have to know yourself and your body, and if you feel that fear of not having spatial awareness, you have to step back because these things are not cured overnight."
Dominique Moceanu recalls own experience in saying Simone Biles made 'right decision'https://t.co/SjOfcF6O58— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 28, 2021
Another former US gymnast, Dominique Dawes praised both Biles and Osaka for their decision to take a step back from their respective sports to focus on themselves. In an interview, she said, “At the end of the day, she is the one who has to live her life. Just like [Japanese-American world tennis champion] Naomi Osaka, who made the decision to not partake in a press conference because she was concerned about her mental health, athletes need to be able to say no,” she said and added. “If they feel that it’s unhealthy for them, they need to be able to step away.”
Gold medalist @dominiquedawes says the pressure of performing at the Olympic games "is too much."— Zerlina on Peacock (@ZerlinaShow) July 26, 2021
It doesn’t help that the culture of gymnastics is full of "verbal, physical, psychological, and even sexual abuse." pic.twitter.com/78kogubZ8n
Recalling her time as a gymnast she said, “We did what was told of us. Back in the ’90s, gymnasts were literally trained to be robots. It is very much a breath of fresh air to be a 44-year-old mom and to listen to my inner voice now.”
Both these veterans have spoken about and addressed the sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar that many young women, including Biles, endured. Moceanu had accused her coaches of physical and emotional abuse in 2008 but these allegations were dismissed. She believes this attitude and culture is what allowed people like Nassar to prey on young women, reported The World.