Athletes are sharing the importance of keeping their mental health in check while training for Olympic gold ahead of the games in Tokyo.
American gymnast Simone Biles prioritizes her mental health whenever she feels like she needs to, she told Health magazine in June.
“For a while, I saw a psychologist once every two weeks,” she says. “That helped me get in tune with myself so that I felt more comfortable and less anxious.”
American boxer Ginny Fuchs told USA TODAY that she’s struggled with OCD almost all her life.
Fuchs was first diagnosed in eighth grade, but says the last four years have been “the worst it’s ever been.”
“I have a great support group that has helped me over the years to stay strong and stay focused and overcome my OCD battles every day,” she says, adding that she does Zoom calls with a therapist twice a week.
Sakura Kokumai, American karateka, says the pandemic has taught her to focus more on mental health.
“I learned that over this year that I tend to train on my own and figure things out on my own, but I realized the importance of reaching out to people and just talking it through,” she says. “Realizing it’s OK to ask for help sometimes.”
April Ross, American beach volleyball player: “I think mental health is huge, and it’s been a big focus of mine for the last five years or so… I believe that mental health translates to physical health and performance.”
Ross added that she takes time to meditate and journal.
Noah Lyles, American sprinter, adds “Mental health is just a part of life. Just like the reason you go to a doctor is to make sure your body is OK, the reason you go to a therapist or you talk to somebody is to make sure that your mind is OK.
Olympic BMX racer Connor Fields stressed the importance of sleep during a panel discussion hosted by Team USA last year.
“Some of the things that happen when you do go one step too far is you are a higher risk of getting sick or getting hurt or doing something like that. That’s where sleep is so important,” he said.
Contributing: Brian Munoz, Scott Gleeson and Tom Schad, USA TODAY
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