3 Olympians Who Suffered from Mental Health Conditions .pdf
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3 Olympians Who Suffered from Mental Health Conditions
Sports can be a challenging career which can make or mar the life of an individual. The life of an athlete is
never easy. The accolades and medals are the result of grueling practice sessions, an ability to eschew
most of the worldly temptations, and rise like a phoenix from every failure. This is no ordinary feat by any
The super competitive world of sports challenges the athletes – both physically and mentally. Even the
toughest ones may run out of steam in daunting circumstances. So, it is just natural that many athletes
may also suffer from mental conditions.
In view of the ongoing Rio Olympics, it is worth mentioning that even Olympians are not immune to mental
health conditions with many of them admitting to suffering from mental illnesses. Here, we take a peek
at three of the Olympic greats who suffered from mental conditions during their career:
Ian Thorpe: The apple of the eye of every Australian, Thorpe brought laurels to the country when he
bagged five gold medals in swimming at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics. Thorpe,
one of the Australia’s highly acclaimed Olympians, stunned the world with his recent revelation about the
perennial mental health condition he suffered from.
The veteran Australian swimmer himself told the world about his struggle with depression which he
suffered since his teen years. It was the stigma associated with mental conditions which kept him from
confiding even to close ones. Though he was a teen prodigy in swimming, Thorpe was silently suffering
from the mental health issue. However, he overcame the problem and went on to become the agent of
change, raising awareness about mental conditions among children and helping others to avoid his kind
Jerry Heidenreich: Another Olympic gold medalist in swimming, American great Heidenreich, suffered
from depression and struggled with alcoholism. He participated in the 1972 Munich Olympics and won
gold. Heidenreich, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an “Honor
Swimmer” in 1992, sent shock waves around the world when he committed suicide in 2002.
Whether it was his personal failures or the retirement from the sport that triggered his mental conditions,
Heidenreich’s death was a loss to the entire sports fraternity. This shows how mental health conditions
can be the ultimate leveler.
Dame Kelly Holmes: She was a star in Britain who won gold twice in the 2004 Athens Olympics. However,
a decade later Holmes admitted that she suffered from depression during her career. She was diagnosed
with clinical depression and was on antidepressants.
Unable to cope with the severity of her helplessness, she contemplated suicide at least once during that
period. She was involved in self-harm, which is a major mental health condition. However, she could
override her mental struggles offering hopes to millions who also suffered from a similar problem.
If a person is suffering from mental health conditions, he should not shy away from seeking treatment for
the problem, as it is similar to any other physical ailment. If intervened at the right juncture, mental
conditions can be treated and one can live a healthy and an accomplished life like others.
If you know someone suffering from any mental condition, you may contact the Arizona Mental Health
Helpline for a quick response. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-606-7791 to connect to one
of the best mental health treatment centers in Arizona where treatment is comprehensive and recovery
long-term. Connect today and avail services of any of the successful mental health centers in Arizona.
For more information, please visit