Mental Health Gets Spotlight at Olympics
American Simone Biles is widely considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time. In the United States, she is the "face" of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. When the games began, she was expected to win five gold medals.
But on Tuesday, she pulled out of the team final. She made the choice after having trouble landing her vault in the competition's first round. She later said her mind was not in the right place to let her safely perform the difficult moves she is known for. In other words, her mind was not letting her body do what it needed to do.
Cameras caught her telling her trainers Tuesday during the team final, "I just don't trust myself."
So, she made the decision to protect her mental health and, she said, to give her teammates a better chance at earning a medal. Biles' three teammates went on to place second behind the gymnasts representing the Russian Olympic Committee.
Biles is not the only Olympian in recent months to talk about the pressure and mental effects of competing at the highest level.
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka decided not to compete at the French Open earlier this summer. She made that choice after French Open organizers were critical of her decision to not speak to the media during the event. She made that decision, she said at the time, to protect her mental heath.
This week, Osaka lost in the second round of Olympic competition. She said she felt extreme pressure to win for Japan, where the Olympics are taking place.
Many Olympic athletes have discussed the stress they have felt from the pandemic. COVID-19 has greatly changed the way the Games are being held.
Liz Cambage is a top basketball player for Australia. She left her team one week before the start of the Games because she was worried about entering the Olympic "bubble" in Tokyo without the support of her friends and family.
Biles, who competed in the 2016 Games in Brazil, said the Tokyo Olympics are very different from past Olympics. This time, the American gymnastics team is not staying in the Olympic Village. The team is in a hotel, away from other people. Talking about the daily life in this Olympics, she said "there are no outlets." In other words, there is little else for her to do than think about gymnastics.
Earlier this week, Biles wrote on Instagram that she felt like she had the "weight of the world" on her shoulders.
On Wednesday, Biles announced she was pulling out of her next big event, the individual all-around, to "focus on her mental health."
The IOC, or International Olympic Committee, said it is paying more attention to the mental health of athletes. A spokesman said, "Are we doing enough? I hope so. I think so."
The IOC said it has websites and phone numbers athletes can call if they need help with a mental health problem.
Naoko Imoto is a Japanese swimmer who competed at the 1996 Olympics. She has been working with the Tokyo Olympic Committee. She said that when Naomi Osaka talked about her mental health in May, it presented a chance to have a more open discussion about problems athletes face, especially in Japan.
"In Japan, we still don't talk about mental health," Imoto said. "I don't think there's enough of an understanding on mental health, but I think there are a lot of athletes coming out right now and saying it is common."
I'm Dan Friedell.
1. pull out of 退出，撤出（协议、比赛或组织）；
David had to pull out of the Championships when his horse went lame.
2. be known for 以…闻名的；
She wa s known for the quickness of her wit.
3. focus on 集中(注意力)；关注；
Students should resist the temptation to focus on exams alone.
4. pay attention to 关心；注意；
More than ever before, the food industry is paying attention to young consumers.
美国运动员西蒙·拜尔斯被普遍认为是有史以来最伟大的体操运动员 。在美国，她是2020年东京奥运会的“代言人” 。奥运会开始后，她有望赢得五枚金牌 。
但周二，她退出了团体决赛 。她在第一轮跳马比赛时遇到困难，于是做出了退赛选择 。她之后表示，她的思想不适合让她安全地完成她闻名于世的高难度动作 。换句话说，她的思想不让她的身体做需要做的事 。
因此，她决定保护自己的心理健康，她表示，这也让队友有更好的机会获得奖牌 。比尔斯的三名队友获得了第二名，俄罗斯奥运队夺得冠军 。
日本网球明星大阪直美今年夏初决定退出法国网球公开赛 。在法网公开赛组织者批评她在比赛期间不接受媒体采访的决定后，她做出了这一选择 。她当时表示，她做出这个决定是为了保护自己的心理健康 。
本周，大阪直美在奥运会第二轮比赛中失利 。她表示，她承受着为本届奥运会东道主日本赢得胜利的巨大压力 。
多名奥运会运动员谈论了新冠疫情给他们带来的压力 。新冠肺炎极大地改变了奥运会的举办方式 。
利兹·坎巴奇是澳大利亚顶尖的篮球运动员 。她在奥运会开幕前一周退出球队，因为她对在没有朋友和家人支持的情况下进入东京“泡泡”奥运会感到担心 。
拜尔斯参加了2016年巴西奥运会，她表示，东京奥运会与以往的奥运会大不相同 。这一次，美国体操队不住在奥运村 。体操队住在远离工其他人的酒店里 。在谈到本届奥运会的日常生活时，她表示，“没有出路” 。换句话说，除了想着体操，她没有别的事可做 。
国际奥委会表示，他们将加强对运动员心理健康的关注 。一名发言人表示，“我们做得够吗？我希望如此 。我想会的 。”
井本直步子是日本游泳运动员，曾参加1996年奥运会 。她一直在东京奥林匹克委员会工作 。她表示，大阪直美在5月份谈到她的心理健康时，为更开放地讨论运动员面临的问题提供了机会，尤其是在日本 。
井本直步子表示，“在日本，我们仍然不会谈论心理健康 。我认为人们对心理健康的了解还不够多，但我认为现在有很多运动员站出来说这一问题很普遍 。”