A group of Russian hackers claimed responsibility for a hack of U.S. Olympic athletes' private medical information on Monday, asserting that the athletes used banned substances — although all the three high-profile athletes targeted by the leak had permission to use the substances for medical purposes. Among those violated by the leak was arguably the biggest star of the Rio Olympics, who responded to news of the leak with maturity and grace. Simone Biles confidently owned her ADHD diagnosis, because she's totally right — it's nothing to be ashamed of.
Biles had not felt the need to divulge her ADHD diagnosis before the leak, but took to Twitter to speak out on Monday. Biles posted to her Twitter and Facebook pages that she followed the rules when it came to taking medication for her condition, which was reiterated in a statement by USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny. "Simone has filed the proper paperwork per USADA and WADA requirements, and there is no violation," said Penny in a statement. "The International Gymnastics Federation, the United States Olympic Committee and USADA have confirmed this. Simone and everyone at USA Gymnastics believe in the importance of a level playing field for all athletes."
A 2012 study found that people with ADHD diagnoses are negatively judged on the validity of their diagnosis, the treatment used to alleviate the disorder, and their perceived dangerousness. Furthermore, African American children are prejudicially associated with ADHD symptoms like "oppositional and violent behavior," and so have a harder time getting diagnosed.
Obviously, no one but Biles and her family knows the full story of her diagnosis, but studies show that an ADHD diagnosis can have a huge negative impact on a child's life, caused at least in part by other people. It's very likely that this has been a difficult subject for Biles throughout her life, yet she handled this situation with dignity and poise. By being transparent and diligently following the rules throughout her competition career, Biles proved her own point — her ADHD diagnosis is nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
While most children have to face the stigma of ADHD on a community level, Biles had to unexpectedly confront it at the international scale. With incredible bravery and honesty, Biles owned her diagnosis and defended her reputation. Unfortunately, many people have commented on her social media statuses in a negative way, but just as many if not more have thanked Biles for speaking out about ADHD and for not letting it stop her from chasing her dreams. Biles is proving herself a role model once again, and with everything she's fought through and achieved, she can clearly handle the haters too.