After hackers disclosed that Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was one of the athletes who received exemptions for substances normally banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the gymnastic dynamo stepped forward to clear the record. Biles has ADHD and takes prescription medication for it. While stimulants are considered a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency, because Biles has ADHD, she received a “therapeutic use exception” by the organization so that she could continue taking her medication during the Olympic games.
Biles took to Twitter, where she posted the following missive:
“I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and is very important to me.”
In a second tweet, she wrote:
“Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.”
Implying that taking medication that has been prescribed to treat ADHD is somehow cheating is, unfortunately, not a new accusation to be leveled at students and athletes with ADHD. While the debate rages on as to whether ADHD is being overdiagnosed and overmedicated, it is nonetheless true that ADHD is a real disorder that, if left untreated, will have a negative impact on children and teens at home, at school and on the social front. By speaking out about how medication has helped treat her disorder and, one might posit, focus on her sport to become the stellar athlete and role model she is today, Biles proved, yet again, that she’s a champion.