Simone Biles’s privacy was seriously invaded this week, when Russian hackers attacked the World Anti-Doping Agency’s athlete database and released medical information about the USA gymnast.
According to ABC News, the published documents revealed that Biles had received a medical exemption to take methylphenidate, a stimulant used to treat ADHD that’s typically banned. Ever the role model, 19-year-old Biles took to social media yesterday to clear up any confusion about her medication: “I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid,” she tweeted. “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.”
If the hackers were hoping to smear Biles’s image, they failed. As ABC News senior medical correspondent Jen Ashton, MD, explained, drugs like methylphenidate (known by the brand name Ritalin) “are thought to work by enhancing neurotransmitter function in the brain.” They would not affect an athlete’s performance, she said.
Biles wasn’t the only target of the hackers: They also published medical information about Serena and Venus Williams.
“In each of the situations, the athlete has done everything right in adhering to global rules for obtaining permission to use a needed medication,” Travis T. Tygart, president of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, told the New York Times.
On Twitter, Biles was quick to add that she’s not embarrassed about her ADHD diagnosis in the slightest, writing, “Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.”
If you ask us, Biles’s response to the unthinkable privacy breach is gold.