Hey America, Simone Biles Doesn’t Need to be Our “Cinderella Story”

We all love a good “up from the ashes” story. Rooting for the underdog is just plain fun. Watching the “come-back kid” drop the mic is thrilling.

Simone Biles does not deserve to be cast as a character in our fairy tales.

As the parent of a kid from a hard place, I get the desire to see a “cinderella story” emerge. I also understand that desire is mostly gross and incredibly unfair. My child doesn’t owe me or society anything. He doesn’t need to prove himself to anyone. He is not responsible for changing the statistics or topping the charts. He certainly doesn’t need to “come out on top” in order to validate some weird made up idea of what it means to have a “successful adoption” story.

We must be careful with our definition of “success.” In fact, let’s just nix the word altogether. Let’s replace it with words like “kind” and “compassionate” and “thoughtful.” Let’s let those labels define our kids’ stories.

If you think I’m making this up, just look at a few of this week’s headlines regarding Simone Biles:

Little Girl Abandoned by Father and Drug-Addict Mother Is Adopted by Christian Texas Family, Becomes Best Athlete in the World

The foster girl who lept to greatness: Simone Biles set to become the biggest star gymnastics has seen


Gymnast Simone Biles Vaulted Through Foster Care to Success

The media needs to stop playing up the “poor little foster girl turned Olympic giant” story. Simone Biles doesn’t need it. Her awesomeness as a gymnast has nothing to do with her time spent in foster care. Nothing. She is an incredible athlete because she has chosen to be an incredible athlete. God gave her a strong body and supportive parents and she took care of the rest. No fairy godmother. No magic wand. Just pure, grueling, endless hard work. She has earned every karat of gold around her neck. Can we please stop making her success contingent on her hardship? She is not more of an athlete than any of the other women on her team because she has a different family story.

Let’s give Simone permission to be great because she is great, not because she has a back-story. Let her success stand on its own without making it a “before and after” photo opportunity.




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