A Successful Competition Is Not Always Winning

Simone Biles

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Inspirational Leadership Quotes - Simone Biles: "A successful competition for me is always going out there and putting 100 percent into whatever I’m doing. It’s not always winning."
Simone Biles on the importance of doing your best, taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, and having fun: "A successful competition for me is always going out there and putting 100 percent into whatever I’m doing. It’s not always winning ... People, I think, mistake that it’s just winning. Sometimes it could be, but for me, it’s hitting the best sets I can, gaining confidence and having a good time and having fun."

Simone Biles (1997-) is an American gymnast who is considered one of the sport’s greatest athletes. Biles is the most decorated American gymnast, with a combined total of 31 Olympic and World Championship medals. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she became the first female U.S. gymnast to win four gold medals at a single Games, and she was the first gymnast to win three consecutive world all-around titles. 

Biles made news last week after withdrawing from the women’s team final due to mental health issues. “We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do,” she said, after writing that she feels "the weight of the world" on her shoulder in an Instagram post. Later last week, she also withdrew from the individual all-around, vault, bars and floor finals for the same reason.

Inspired by tennis player Naomi Osaka who withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year for similar reasons, Biles continues the conversation around mental health in professional sports and performance-driven settings overall.

What do you think about Simone Biles' withdrawal from the competition and mental health strains in leadership in general? Comment below 👇💬


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Nikol Chen (she/her)

Digital Content Manager, Laidlaw Foundation

Hello! I have been with the Laidlaw Foundation for over 2 years, helping us strengthen the global Laidlaw community and expand our programmes to break the cycle of poverty, reduce inequality, and develop a new generation of leaders.

I am originally from Kazakhstan and I studied Human Sciences at UCL. I am a fan of all things human- and design-related, as well as an avid swimmer, obsessive podcast listener, documentary enthusiast, and film photography fan.

Drop me a line if you'd like to chat! 💬👀