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Just three years after getting embroiled in a controversy, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is attempting a highly publicized return, complete with all the fanfare one would expect. The 27-year-old, whose athletic prowess has earned her 37 Olympic and World Championship medals, faced a tidal wave of criticism following her decision to pull out of several events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The retreat was conveniently packaged under the ever-expanding umbrella of “mental health issues,” but it resulted in Team USA losing a shot at the gold for the first time since 2008.

Biles’ explanation of “the twisties”—a term she used to describe a disconnect between her mind and body—was seen by many as an excuse rather than a legitimate reason for quitting on her team. Despite the backlash, some media outlets, in their infinite wisdom, still found it appropriate to shower her with accolades, such as when Time magazine named her “Athlete of the Year.” Apparently, quitting is now a celebrated hallmark of sports excellence.

Fast forward to today, and Biles is making sure her story gets the Disney treatment. A new Netflix documentary series titled “Simone Biles Rising” promises to paint her as a misunderstood hero. The trailer serves as a two-minute highlight reel of self-justifications and carefully crafted narratives, starting with Biles’ own words about the intuition that allegedly guided her tumultuous Olympic journey.

If the documentary is the epitome of a PR masterclass, then the descriptions accompanying the trailer solidify it. The series touts “unprecedented access” and a journey into the complexities of being a champion on one’s “own terms.” It’s all designed to make viewers forget that Biles’ own terms once included abandoning her team on the world stage.

Of course, Netflix’s latest offering will undoubtedly win over a few hearts, but if Biles truly wants to regain public favor, she’ll need to do more than star in a self-glorifying documentary. Dominating at the Paris Olympics would be a real comeback, one that doesn’t rely on spinning mental health narratives but on actual performance and commitment.

The ceremonies for the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad will kick off on July 26, and that’s when the real test begins. Until then, the American public will be left to wade through the glossy veneer of Netflix specials and media puff pieces to see if Simone Biles can truly rise again.

Written by Staff Reports

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