Tokyo 2020 will also be remembered as the Olympics in which athletes finally had the chance to show their human side. Sportsmen who break records to the limit of the conceivable, but also people with their own uncertainties, fragility, feelings. It was the American gymnast Simone Biles, considered among the strongest in history in her discipline, who was the first to show the world that even champions can fall. And also give up a final of the Games to recover some serenity. “The love and support I received made me realize that I am more than my achievements and gymnastics,” the American wrote on Twitter. For the choices, in Tokyo, to withdraw from some races and externalize his psychological difficulties, Biles has received several attacks on social networks. Texas Deputy Attorney General Aaron Reitz, for example, called it a “selfish, childish national embarrassment,” only to apologize later.
A sharing of the problems raised by the gymnast came from two representatives of the FIN, the Italian swimming federation. Not just any representatives, but two Italian athletes who have already won two medals in Tokyo 2020: Federico Burdisso and Gregorio Paltrinieri. The first, after the bronze conquered in the 200 butterfly, said he had experienced difficulties similar to those of Biles: «I still have to do well. This Olympics was a bit strange for me. I have a little trouble noticing what coast is going on around. I didn’t even want to do the race. I have had a lot of stress and tension ». Paltrinieri, in the post-silver press conference in the 800 freestyle, was even more explicit: «It is not easy to compete with expectations, every time I enter the water I feel that it is all due and this is not nice. Many times this pressure enters you and makes fun of you, you start thinking about things that are not true. I have read about Simone Biles and they are all sensations that I feel too ».