HBO’s The Weight of Gold is a must watch for all parents of athletes.
It is a documentary of life after Olympic competition. How so many Olympians get depressed when they come back from the Olympics.
Michael Phelps was asked,
Why don’t you just get help?
“Well, there are a lot of reasons.
Probably the biggest is connected to what got us to the top in the first place.
Our conviction that we could make ourselves unbeatable if we just work at it.
Our belief that there is just no way that we should ever need help.
Our fear that we will become weak if we show any vulnerability.
The stigma of having mental health problems is a huge issue all across society.
Olympian’s are definitely a group that want to keep their pain out of sight.”
“Athletes don’t get help with mental health because they can’t even admit it is and issue.
That is so fundamentally at odds with being a competitor.
This is war.
It is a game of strategy, it is a game of maneuvering and posturing.
You need to show the world that you are strong.
You need to show all your competitors that you are strong.
And if you were to say, I have mental health issues, that just cracks the facade of trying to show the world that you’re impervious.”
“Athletes just don’t talk about our weaknesses. We’re tough, we’ll hide anything we don’t want anyone to know what we are going through.”
“Being an Olympian is advertised as this amazing thing and they leave out all of the side effects.
Almost like a disconnect from the real world.
They advertise to keep the athlete healthy and happy, but they really only deliver physically.”
“I don’t think anyone asked us if we were okay. As long as we were performing I don’t think anything else mattered.”
“They did a phenomenal job of how do I mentally stay strong in my sport.
But, not once have I got wisdom of how to stay strong outside of my sport.”
Well worth the watch.
Athletes are human.
Super human athletes are human also.
Ask your wrestler if he is okay.
No matter how good he is physically.