TOP OF THE TOWN ‑ Everybody it seems is chiming in on Simone Biles’ withdraw from gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The 24 year-old Biles has a combined 30 Olympic and World Championship medals and is considered by many the greatest gymnast of all time. But the mental toll of maintaining the tremendous hype and expectations finally broke her. I could sense she had lost confidence in a Sports Illustrated story that came out just before the Olympics. Losing a year to the Pandemic ate at her (as it did others) and it gave her time to reflect on her career and where she wanted to go with it from here. She more than once wanted to quit. But she kept coming back to the arduous practices that made her one of the greats. Finally, it all overwhelmed her and you could see in her early run-throughs in Tokyo that she just wasn’t the usual Simone Biles. So she withdrew, she says to not hurt her team with poor performances. People have come down on all sides of her decision, but I have no complaints. Biles was the sole remaining active survivor of the alleged sexual abuse by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and that kind of abuse can last a lifetime with incredible negative effects. It’s sad and tragic at the same time. I hope Biles can recover and be a productive citizen for the rest of her life. In the meantime, life goes on. … Seattle Mariners’ general manager Jerry Dipoto says give it time and we will all see that his trade of popular closer Kendall Graveman was the right move. Dipoto traded Graveman to the Houston Astros, which is like giving the giant a bigger gun. The Astros are already loaded offensively and now with Graveman they have a stopper that not only is good from the mound but good in the clubhouse. Mariner players were upset with the trade. They have a right to be. So we’ll see if Dipoto can make us believers in the next few days with a trade or two that will take away the sting. One thing is clear, Dipoto messed with good chemistry. If that has been destroyed by this trade, the Mariners may fall into a stumble down the standings. Chemistry is allusive. It’s tough to construct. Often it just happens. The Mariners had it. I hope they didn’t lose it because they are having a remarkable season that had not been expected. … Aaron Rodgers is back with the Packers. We’ll see how that all works out. Rodgers is a smart dude. I just hope he hasn’t overplayed his hand. If this is it for Rodgers, and he retires at the end of this coming season, he has had a great career and has established himself as one of the all-time greats. It’s tough to be a guy like Rodgers, who just seems to flick the football with his wrist and it carries 50 or more yards, almost always on target too. … I watched the United States volleyball women edge past China in three sets. I thought the Chinese looked better, but the U.S. women have two good hitters and they hung together to win a close match over the defending Olympic Gold champs. … I also watched team handball, a sport that makes no sense to me. It’s ice hockey with a ball. I’d rather watch ice hockey. … Baltimore’s flashy quarterback Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-10 … twice in eight months. How do you do that? You would think getting it once is enough to get that person to back off and take precautions. I guess not. Jackson is apparently not as fast as he looks. .. I believe the Kraken are going to be a big hit in this region. Ice Hockey is brutal, explosive and thrilling. You can develop villains pretty quickly in the sport, and fans love to get all over the villains. Hockey teams usually have an enforcer sitting on the bench just waiting to get on ice and crack somebody. I’m going to be interested in discovering the Kraken enforcer. OK, that is enough for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.