Gymnastics News Network
By: Breanna Whitman
Stop the presses! Simone Biles, previously thought to be superhuman due to her incredible buoyancy and gymnastics prowess, was revealed today to be just like 6.4 million other Americans: the four-time gold medalist announced Tuesday she lives with an ADHD diagnosis and takes Ritalin as part of her treatment.
Clearly she has some explaining to do. *Cue eye roll*
After Russian hackers publicly released several top athletes’ private medical records and test results from the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), Biles and USA Gymnastics took to Twitter and other news sites to clarify the situation.
Records indicated that Biles tested positive for methylphenidate, which was confirmed by a statement from USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny which further clarified that Biles “submitted and was approved for a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE)” so that she could continue taking the prescription to treat her ADHD, and clearing her of any violation of anti-doping law.
That Biles, Olympic All-Around champion and celebrity of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, would not only have her private health information thrust into the spotlight but also have to explain it shows clearly how accustomed our society has become to the lack of privacy afforded to public figures – including sports stars.
However, fans of Biles (as well as supporters of those who share in her diagnosis) have applauded her openness about living with ADHD.
Biles tweeted to her followers “Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.”
Though a select few used the opportunity to try bringing Biles down, an overwhelming proportion of fans responded with tweets supporting Biles’, relaying their own stories about living with ADHD, and praising her efforts and ability to bring further awareness to issues of mental health in the United States. Others went a step further, affirming her right to privacy by declaring that she shouldn’t have to explain herself to anyone.
Biles is set to release her new autobiography November 15, 2016 – fans hoping Biles will be able to bring further awareness about ADHD by recounting her stories about growing up in a sport that requires absolute focus can only wait until then to see if the issue will be a prominent part of her story.
Sources: Twitter, CDC, Huffington Post
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