Letters: Simone Biles is a GOAT or a quitter, depending on perspective

Simone Biles
(Associated Press)

To those critical of Simone Biles, take a good look in the mirror. What were you doing at that age? Could you have done it in front of millions of people, under the pressure to perform flawlessly? Confidence is essential in any performance realm, and without it, you are lost. Simone’s difficult decision to step aside was courageous, and my regard for her and what she has accomplished grew exponentially this week. She may or may not return to the heights of her former glory, but her poise during these Games should cement her place as one of the great role models of our time.

Bill Lewis



The L.A. Times sportswriters can sugarcoat all they want about Biles not finishing her event. Did Michael Jordan quit when he had an over 100-degree temperature with flu? No, he did not. Did Tom Brady ever quit when he wasn’t doing well in a game? No, he did not. Did Katie Ledecky quit even though she did not do well at first? No, she did not.

The point is “GOATs” do not quit when the going gets tuff. Biles is a quitter and should not have the title of “GOAT.”

Neil Snow
Manhattan Beach


First off. Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast of all time. No one close. Does that put her in GOAT league?

Like everything, it comes down to definition. To me GOAT club means not only are you the best at your position, you have the other things that go with it. Multiple championships. Longevity. Mental toughness. Leadership. These days the media is quick to anoint athletes into this club. If Biles needed the time off, it’s up to her. It takes nothing away from her athletic prowess. Can’t we celebrate the Kobes and Jordans’ rare air without attacking Biles for being human? The point of GOATs is that they are so rare. The new attitudes may preclude there being the type of heroes we are familiar with. We best get used to it.

Jeff Hesiter

College gymnastics coaches salute Simone Biles for having the courage to withdraw from competition and demonstrate how to respond under pressure.


Simone Biles arguably is the greatest gymnast of all time. But when injuries begin to pile up, time often proves to be a gruesome enemy.

Just look at the careers of baseball legends Babe Ruth or Willie Mays, football stars Fran Tarkenton or Johnny Unitas, swimmer Mark Spitz or gymnast Nadia Comaneci. As great as they were in their respective sports, there finally came a time when all of them realized they just didn’t have “it” any longer. Believe it or not, Super Bowl champ Tom Brady will one day join their ranks.

So to Simone, I say even if you can’t score a 9.9 on another routine in Tokyo, you always will be a 10 when it comes to inspiring young girls and boys to pursue their Olympic dreams.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach


Regarding the Olympics, I guess Yogi Berra was right about competition when he said, “Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical.”

David Waldowski
Laguna Woods


Dylan Hernandez had every right to write what he did, despite not being right about what he wrote.

Perfection more often than not is a fleeting moment in time and it cannot be maintained for a long period of time. Simone was aware that her form, or lack of, would hurt her team’s chances — and risk serious injury. The article was actually quite hurtful and unnecessary. Simone didn’t start calling herself the GOAT, the press did.

Applaud her courage then and now.

Keith Skipper
Santa Clarita

Simone Biles did the right thing by not competing when she believed she couldn’t. But it also tarnishes her legacy as a gymnast.


Simone Biles has gymnastic moves named after her. Nobody had the creativity or skills to do them before; that won’t dim. She’s a gold medalist; the finish hasn’t tarnished.

The criticism of Biles betrays unfounded expectations of hero worship, conflation of mental health/mental preparedness, and misogyny. For the viewer, it’s about two minutes of entertainment. For the athlete, their health — and life — is at risk.

The only thing that has dimmed here is Mr. Hernandez’s credentials as a sportswriter.

Douglas Hileman
Valley Glen


Apparently, Bill Walton’s foot injuries and Sandy Koufax’s arthritic elbow would have not led Dylan Hernandez to label them as “failed basketball/baseball players.” If the debilitating problem cannot be diagnosed with an X-ray, Mr. Hernandez does not want to hear about it. He has succeeded as a columnist in terms of being provocative; he has failed as a journalist whose first obligation is to the truth. Simone Biles’ legacy will shine, perhaps even burnished by her candor in the face of a disturbingly public trauma.

Dave Sanderson
La Canada


I find Dylan Hernandez’s column regarding Simone Biles and her mental inability to continue in the Olympics very impressive. I knew Hernandez to be a fine sports columnist, but I had no idea that he was also a doctor of psychiatry. I’m curious, what medical school did Hernandez graduate from?

Michael Gesas
Beverly Hills

Capital corridor

The Dodgers’ acquisition of Max Scherzer and Trea Turner by the trade deadline is like getting a walk-off home run against the Giants and Padres in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Roy Reel
Culver City


When you talk about job security, look no further than Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman! Before the regular season started, he reloads after winning the World Series and does whatever it takes money-wise (thanks, Stan Kasten) to ensure continued success. However, if he makes mistakes (Trevor Bauer) during the season and everything doesn’t go the Dodgers’ way … all he has to do is wait for the trade deadline and go after whatever he wants. The days of relying on your farm system to rebuild; and having a few down years are not part of the Dodgers’ DNA! Money talks … especially when it comes to the Dodgers.

Richard Whorton
Studio City

The Dodgers finalize a deal that will bring them Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals.


The Los Angeles “Yankees” no longer win from within their minor league system. The first-place Brewers have half the payroll, while American League contenders Rays and A’s have one-third. If ya can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.

Dave Eng
Thousand Oaks


The baseball gods are shining on the Dodgers. Thanks, Tommy. We know you’re up there pulling the strings.

Patrick Drohan

Wrong Big 3

So now instead of two superstars who get injured, the Lakers have three superstars who get injured.

Loren Coleman
West Hollywood

The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell. Inside the talks behind the blockbuster trade that created a new Big 3.


This could be the worst trade in Laker history. Especially since they were going to trade for Buddy Hield. The biggest need was to improve three-point shooting and you traded for a 30.5% three-point shooter.

Russell Hosaka


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