From Simone Biles to Noah Lyles, Olympic stars reflect on the importance of caring for the soul


Professional sports and the pressures of daily life

Olympians often have an aura of invincibility, but as the athletes themselves say, their incredible physical strength is no firewall against mental struggle, doubt, or stress.

“I don’t understand the importance of the Olympics,” the Brazilian said. Ressa LyleAt the age of 13, she won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics with her amazing skateboarding skills. “I started going to therapy. I started talking to my psychologist.”

“To me, it’s truly the best thing I’ve ever done.” – Rayssa Leal on Psychologist

Professional athletes face many pressures throughout their athletic careers, including career-threatening pressures Injuried arrive Pressure from the media, National federations and sponsors – Everything is staged in front of thousands of spectators. However, the biggest battles are often the internal ones.

“Stress is the silent killer. As a perfectionist, sometimes it’s hard to accept myself because I expect more of myself than others,” 2020 Tokyo Sport Climbing Champion Janja Garnblett told “Normally I don’t even feel pressure from other people, the climbing community or the media because I put so much pressure on myself. I want to win every race, not 100% but 200% every day %, so sometimes it’s not that easy to live with yourself.”

perfectionism This feeling can be heightened when a world or national record is within reach, or in a sport where a perfect score is as important as a gold medal.

“It’s hard to be such a high-level athlete,” Norwegian wrestler Grace Bullen told “Mainly because you’re with yourself so much that you can’t stop thinking about it or let it go, which is one of the hardest things to do.”

“It’s very difficult,” Igarashi agreed. “You pretty much dedicate your life to one thing, maybe 70 percent of the year. It starts to eat away at your spirit, especially in a sport like surfing where you’re in a very uncontrolled environment where You’re against nature. You’re away from home for a long time and like other sports you have to make a lot of sacrifices and it’s very difficult.”

When mental stress is too high, performance will plummet.

“Physically and mentally it goes hand in hand. I would say it’s 50/50,” said the two-time Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams. “You can see an athlete, for example, and they’re doing incredible in the gym. They’re in really good shape, and then they get in the ring and all of a sudden, it’s all gone. They’ve forgotten that they’re losing The strength is gone. All the courage is gone. And then you’re like, ‘What? What happened? How did this amazing warrior just disappear?'”

For Adams, the most difficult moment of her career wasn’t facing the world’s toughest boxers in the ring, but the serious back injury she suffered in 2010. Unable to even lift his shoulders off the ground at one point, the British boxer was sidelined from the sport for a year but made a remarkable comeback to win gold at the Olympics in his native London.

While the extreme highs and lows of a sports career rarely reach the same magnitude in everyday life, the mental hurdles athletes face are not that different from the daily struggles of many people. Charlotte Worthington noticed this after sharing her story and hearing friends reply that they experienced similar stress in their daily jobs.

“Since I’ve done this (taken a mental health break), I’ve realized that many of my peers and friends are going through this in their own way,” she said. “That means a lot of different careers, and anyone who wants to do anything with their life is going to have a bumpy road.”

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