Mental health pressures on Olympic competitors

Liberal Democrats have been strongly campaigning on mental health for several years now.

Here is the party’s response to Simone Biles’ acknowledgement of the pressures she has been under. She has won a total of 30 Olympic and World Championship medals in gymnastics and the expectations placed on her are exceptional.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • John Marriott 29th Jul '21 - 11:11am

    As someone who was involved in first class sport, albeit in the largely amateur 1960s, I know what pressure sportspeople can be under, especially in the professional era.

    Such is the desire to succeed that rules can be bent and indeed, to those who cannot hack it, the phrase that comes to mind is “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen”. To get to the top requires natural ability, luck but above all supreme dedication. In many ways, it doesn’t often square with a liberal attitude to life and is hard to explain to people who do not share the same desire to succeed.

    In elite sport pressure to perform is a way of life. As the song goes; “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. It can seem unpleasant, even incongruous to many; but that’s often what separates the ‘good athlete’ from the ‘great athlete’. It is therefore not surprising when some fall by the wayside. Yes, it can seem cruel; but, for many, there really is no gain without pain.

  • Brad Barrows 29th Jul '21 - 11:14am

    I’m sure others will disagree with me but, to me, real sporting bravery is when a professional footballer misses a penalty and yet is able to give 100% commitment to the rest of the game. It will be a sad day if players who miss penalties decide to quit the rest of the game rather than play on.

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