Mental Health and Athletes


Naomi Presler, Reporter

Mental Health has always been an issue amongst athletes for a very long time. Two incredible female athletes, during the 2020 Summer Olympics and French Open, dropped out and prioritized their mental health. This came as a shock to the world, but for these two confident women, it was necessary. They have been a model for mental health awareness amongst athletes, since the 2020 Olympics.

One of the two females is Simone Biles. Biles is known for her 32 Olympic Medals including 4 gold medals in gymnastics. She has recently become known for bringing awareness to her mental health, and other athletes as well, during the 2020 Summer Olympics. 

Everyone around the world watched as Simone Biles walked away from the competition crying. Later, she made the shocking decision to back out  to prioritize  her mental health. She sat down and was interviewed for her decision. She described it as carrying “ the weight of the world” on her shoulders. In her statement to The Associated Press she said, “We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day, we’re human, too. We have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.” 

Naomi Osaka, the number 2 best tennis player in the world, stepped away from the French Open and Wimbledon during a press interview, to prioritize her mental health as well. 

She revealed that she has had severe depression and anxiety for a long time. Having the weight of perfection on her shoulders plus her mental health issues, has become too much for her and that she needs rest. Not much else has been said on her decision. Since her decision she says, “It’s ok to not be ok”. 

 Both these women have set the stage for athletes to be more open about their mental health all over the world. As seen by the support for Naomi’s and Simone’s decisions, athletes will hopefully be more confident to step back and prioritize their mental health as well. Simone put’s this best saying, “Put mental health first, because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to, so it’s OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself, because it shows how strong of a competitor that you really are, rather than just battle through it.”