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What We Talk About When We Talk About Athlete Empowerment

Simone Biles of the United States competes on the balance beam during Women's qualification for Artistic Gymnastics on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Simone Biles of the United States competes on the balance beam during Women's qualification for Artistic Gymnastics on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games are often filled with moments that define eras or struggles. This year, much attention has been devoted to gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to pull out of four individual gymnastics events due to a mental block. 

The decision points to a growing trend among athletes, one that prioritizes athlete autonomy and empowerment. Other examples include Naomi Osaka’s decision to bow out of the French Open and female athletes pushing back on the oversexualization of uniforms.

From the Olympics and beyond, athletes are setting their own standards and simply saying no. What does this mean for the future of sports?

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