Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Political cartoon: Simone Biles versus the trolls

Biles didn't quit. She's still practicing, trying to get her mind and body in sync. But all Twitter and Facebook want you to see are the trolls.

Simone Biles' announcement at the Olympics prompted strong reaction.
Simone Biles' announcement at the Olympics prompted strong reaction.Read moreRob Tornoe / staff

Other than my cartoon, I’m not sure I have anything to add to the widespread support four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles has received after pulling out of the gymnastics team finals earlier this week.

At this point, everyone knows what happened. Biles, in several candid interviews with reporters earlier this week, said she wasn’t in the “right head space” to compete and didn’t want to impact her teammates.

» READ MORE: In an America of ‘suicide shifts’ and toxic work culture, Simone Biles speaks for all of us

At issue is something called “the twisties” — a phenomenon where gymnasts lose awareness of where they are during a routine while in midair, making it incredibly difficult to land safely.

“I simply got so lost my safety was at risk as well as a team medal,” Biles wrote in an Instagram post Friday morning. “Therefore the girls stepped up and killed the rest of the competition & won silver. QUEENS!!!!”

It’s not clear yet if Biles will be about to overcome her issues in time for her next event, the vault, scheduled for 4:45 a.m. Eastern Sunday morning. On Friday she also posted a video of herself practicing on the uneven bars, where she falls flat on her back after attempting a 1½ twist.

“For anyone saying I quit. I didn’t quit,” Biles wrote on Instagram. “My mind & body are simply not in sync...I don’t think you realize how dangerous this is on hard/competition surface.”

There are some trolls out there looking to make a name for themselves by being contrarian, helped by Twitter highlighting their made-to-inflame comments and “trending” them to millions of people. As MSNBC host Chris Hayes pointed out, this trend has led to more and more people learning about a news story or event through the “takes” on it, then finding out the facts later.

“Essentially, Twitter has decided that ‘Troll Makes Bad Tweet’ is major, national news, which it is not,” wrote former New York Times writer turned newsletter author Charlie Warzel. “It distorts reality, flattens context, and invites a whole bunch of people to jump in and get good and mad.”

Don’t feed the trolls. They are loud. At times it seems they are plentiful. But in this instance, they are a small minority of voices in a sea of support of America’s most decorated gymnast.

More cartoons

Here are some of my recent cartoons. For more editorial cartoons, visit the Inquirer’s cartoon section.