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The Athletic Breaking Point

Dear Mrs. Zoë Ruhl,

I hope you are doing well. I want to thank you for writing such an article about our culture of winning in sports, because I can relate to wanting to push as much as I can in order to win, but in the sport of tennis. I have a great passion for tennis and I love what I do. There were times where I also felt like it was too much to keep going.

But I want to address a few topics. First, Simone Biles, although she did drop out from the Olympics for some time, she returned to win the bronze medal. Biles, the famous gymnast with four gold medals, will continue to strive for what she desires: to compete in gymnastics and to inspire others to follow their dreams. Naomi Osaka, the world number two on the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Tour, backed out of competing to speak up for mental health rights. However, she is back and with renewed vigor. Both athletes fight for what they believe is right, and I have no problem with that. I agree that the pressure of sports often neglects athletes’ right to mental health and stability.

Second, I believe that just saying, “You’re Zoë, the skier,” does not make you special just because you’re a skier (I’m sorry to say). You can be many other things: a model student, a friendly person to society, or possibly a coach, mentor, etc. One activity does not define who you are, no matter how big that activity is. Everyone is unique and special, simply because we are all human. I believe that humans are not defined by what they are good at, rather I believe that humans are defined by everything they wish to be defined as. Yes, you are Zoë, the skier, but you are also much more: a third-year medical student at UPenn. Not many can achieve such a standard as you have.

I am happy for you. I am also glad that you are trying to help others to get healthy as well. I think I could use some of that help. 😅

Best wishes,

Andrew Guan

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