Simone Biles

The public is still discussing Simone Biles’ brave decision to pull out of the team and all-around finals to put her mental health first.

“After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars,” USA Gymnastics said. “She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam.”(Kennedy, 2021 as cited in NPR, 2021)

Ron Karr 20160720_0468ar preview


Although many fans are backing her up, others are questioning why? Ron Karr is the author of the newly released book The Velocity Mindset. He knows the importance of having the right mindset in order to achieve greatness. In his book Karr explains in order to gain Velocity in life, sometimes you need to pause or stop, regroup and then move forward with different actions and mental outlook.

Recess chatted with Ron as he broke down the decision that Simone Biles made and how that made her a true leader.


Recess: How has the decision that Simone made empowered her to take charge of her life?

Ron Karr (RK): To get yourself ramped up to compete and everything comes to a standstill because of COVID and having to find that same motivation to compete the following year. That is a large amount of pressure to face during these Olympic games.

What she did was very hard.  When you think about how much she practiced and sacrificed in her life to get to this point and all of sudden not have it go her way. This could have destroyed a lot of people, however here is how she acted differently than most.  Simone did it differently, she did what a leader does, she realized she can’t keep doing this. Biles put herself and the team ahead of her desire to become a champion. A lot of people can’t do that. It shows she has a strong moral character and it highlights she knows what is important in life.

Recess: What else makes her a true leader?

RK: She didn’t run, she didn’t hide. She showed up and said what can I do to support the team? She stayed in front of the cameras and could have easily run away because it was uncomfortable. Her getting in front of it exemplifies the character of a leader.

Recess: What are some tips that the everyday person can take from Simone Biles in this situation and add it to their own lives?

RK: Simone was grounded in her purpose, she knew what she wanted to have for herself in life and she knew what was important to her as well. That is why she was able to make the decision she made. A lot of people don’t know what is important in life, as a result, they are not centrally grounded. The one thing you can do to emulate her power is be grounded and passionate about your purpose. Having passion acts as a magnet to pull you back up when you need it.

Recess: How can fitness enthusiasts and athletes use someone else’s success as motivation vs a comparison?

RK: Put it in the form of what you want to have, not what you don’t have. The reason why we go the comparison route is that we feel we can’t achieve it. Change your tasks to support your purpose.

Recess: How do you think the Olympics will change after Simone’s decision?

RK: Biles is a major force to take the importance of mental health to the next level following other athletes like Micheal Phelps and Naomi Osaka. Another question you may want to ask is what is the responsibility of those that are pushing Simone forward (sponsors and coaches)?

There is a thing I call social responsibility, Sponsors and coaches have to have some empathy for the clients that haven’t even lived life yet. They are being praised as being the best of the best and not sure how to handle the stress that comes along with that. It’s key that they provide these up-and-coming athletes with the proper tools to navigate through these challenges as a young adult.

Sometimes the hardest decisions are the right decisions. How can you start putting yourself first?