TOKYO—Members of the International Olympic Committee voted Thursday to award Simone Biles the first-ever Olympic Non-Participation Trophy for her decision to pull out of this week's gymnastics competition.
“It takes a great deal of courage and dedication to participate in the Olympics,” a spokesman for the IOC said. “However, it takes even MORE courage and MORE dedication not to participate. Thus, we have decided to give Ms. Biles this prestigious award for non-participation in our sport.”
CNN’s Don Lemon called Biles’s decision not to compete stunning and brave. “Ms. Biles is truly an American hero for stepping down to focus on her mental health,” he noted. “I’ve endured similar emotional struggles myself, but I have not been in a position to step down because of my important role as the 1,864th most trusted news anchor in America.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there is no greater honor for an athlete than to not represent their country at the Olympics. “Quitting is the bravest thing anyone can possibly do, and we should all strive to follow Ms. Biles’ example,” she said. She then quickly added, “I mean that for athletes. That statement does not apply to aging politicians who may or may not have advanced cognitive decline.”
Despite praise from most sources, Biles’ award did attract some scrutiny as well. Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick blamed Biles for ripping him off. “Simone is no big deal,” Kaepernick told reporters. “I was refusing to participate in sports long before it was cool. I want a trophy too!”