Time magazine has issued its annual list of the 100 ‘most influential’ people in the world – and ‘Titan’ Simone Biles makes the list alongside ‘Icon’ Naomi Osaka, although some people are calling the whole thing a woke lovefest.
American gymnast Biles – who cleaned up at the Rio Olympics five years ago with a string of gold medals – memorably backed out of the Team Final in Tokyo this summer citing mental health issues, leading to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) claiming the title.
Also pulling out of a string of other events, Biles eventually returned for the Balance Beam where she took home a bronze.
Despite Biles not delivering the gold haul widely expected before the Games, she was nonetheless hailed as a hero for putting mental health ahead of medals.
That was enough to see the 24-year-old’s inclusion as a ‘Titan’ on the Time list, with tennis great Serena Williams penning a gushing tribute piece to the star.
Hailing Biles as a “master of precision, grace and dominance,” Williams said the gymnast had “cemented herself as one of the most decorated American gymnasts of all time” through her 32 Olympics and world championship medals.
But she then claimed that Biles’ best work is “done outside of the gym” while “using her mature voice and platform to share her personal journey of self-love, respect and acceptance”.
“Simone is a shining example of what success looks like when you let go of what the world thinks and gather your strength from yourself … from your soul,” Williams finished.
Predictably, there was bucketloads of praise for Biles in a woke-fueled love-in – but there were also a few dissenting voices.
“Now we celebrate wokeness,” quipped one user, as another said: “We’re celebrating her because she quit. There’s something very wrong here.”
“Looks like a whole lot of PR,” someone else pointed out.
Replying to a quote from Biles where she said “it’s very hard for women and girls to set boundaries. But if you start by saying ‘no’ or setting boundaries for the little things, then the bigger things don’t seem so big,” someone replied: “For example, you could say no to competing with your team and let them all down.”
Elsewhere, Osaka’s inclusion was as widely praised as that of Biles, although some did claim that Time was “losing credibility fast” for its stringent adherence to the woke agenda.