A big step towards ailments that are too often hidden.
Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), found the American gymnast Simone Biles "courageous" in Tokyo on Friday to have openly mentioned her psychological torments.
“On the one hand, she admits to having problems, which is already courageous.
And at the same time, she applauds her teammates and is present to support the one who succeeds her in the all-around competition, said Thomas Bach during a press point with press agencies.
Who, a year ago, would have admitted having mental health problems?
he asked himself.
These are great human qualities.
On Tuesday, under the eyes of the IOC President, the gymnastics superstar withdrew during the all-around team competition, revealing that she was "facing her demons" and evoking a very heavy pressure to manage.
"I admire the way she handles the situation"
The next day, she announced giving up the defense of her Olympic title in the all-around scheduled for Thursday, but was in the stands to encourage the Americans and congratulate her compatriot Sunisa Lee who won and succeeded her.
“I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with her after the team competition.
I admire the way she is handling the situation, ”insisted Thomas Bach.
"We must therefore do everything to help"
He also returned more generally to the mental health problems that affect certain high-level athletes.
Besides Simone Biles, other famous athletes have recently mentioned psychological difficulties, including the Japanese Naomi Osaka.
“Mental health was a big challenge during this pandemic and not only in sport (…) And there we find ourselves with two factors: the challenge of the pandemic and the pressure on the athletes, continued the IOC President.
So we must do everything with athletes and national sports organizations in countries to help.
We spoke with associations and tried to lobby governments to explain the importance of sport for physical and mental health.
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