B.Stenger: Fragile heroes – how athletes overcome the challenges of a pandemic Olympics

Sport remains one of society’s top priorities even in these times of technology. It is noticeable that people are increasingly choosing an active lifestyle, tend to test themselves in new sports or improve the skills of an already popular sport. Obviously, the Olympics, basketball, football or swimming championships are important to society. Many of us could name the most famous Lithuanian athletes, basketball players, swimmers, athletes of other industries.

No matter how fast society develops, there are things that don’t change. These are hopes and expectations for athletes, coaches and teams. Courageous to rejoice and be proud, but quick to condemn and ruthlessly “write off”, criticize and judge – just such emotions from the environment are experienced by athletes.

How to recover from losing and being able to keep the title as long as possible after winning?

Probably only a few members of the public think about what it really means to dedicate their lives to professional sports, when a fraction of a second can determine whether you will be a hero or a loser, will not last long. It’s not even worth talking about the fear of trauma. How to recover from losing and being able to keep the title as long as possible after winning? All of these issues have been relevant in the past, but this Olympics has brought even more new challenges, fears, insecurities and anxieties.

Such behavior is sensational in sports arenas, but welcome and courageous when it comes to sending a message to younger generations.

„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr./Simone Biles

The results of these Olympics surprised many people. Titled athletes are eliminated in qualifying matches or during the first stages, the legendary gymnast Simone Biles voluntarily withdraws from further fights because she feels unable to perform tricks. All this is associated with experiencing psychological difficulties. Such behavior is sensational in sports arenas, but welcome and courageous when it comes to sending a message to younger generations.

Most athletes are accustomed to suppressing their feelings, directing their thoughts.

As a sports psychiatrist, I keep a close eye on the latest developments in the world of sports and notice that it is no longer enough to focus solely on the performance of athletes, no matter what sport they compete in. It is much more important to look deeper and broader, not only to achieve high results, but first of all to take care of the emotional health of athletes, to follow it, to analyze it, to understand it. The problems faced by athletes usually do not come up suddenly and unexpectedly, that is, the totality of emotions, failures, fears, fatigue, responsibilities, feelings of uncertainty experienced over time, which bursts like a bubble in moments when psychics no longer have the capacity to overcome all that content. and focus only on a specific match or competition.

Most athletes are accustomed to suppressing their feelings, directing their thoughts, following training plans in a disciplined manner, concentrating on crucial moments, and have developed technical skills to manage stress and tension. However, despite all the knowledge available, this is not always the case. These Olympics were shrouded in ignorance and tension almost until they began: there was a constant debate about whether they would happen at all, how they would be organized. Many of the limitations on COVID-19, inspections, uncertainty, and the constant fear of being able to start are likely to put pressure on many Olympic athletes. With such challenges, athletes certainly were not accustomed to living.

Probably the only thing we can still do for our athletes is to support them unconditionally, regardless of the results we have achieved.

Preparations for the “pandemic” Olympics lasted not four, but five years, the latter full of uncertainty, contradiction and insecurity. Focusing only on the preparations for the Olympics had to be very difficult. Those who managed to leave for Tokyo faced other aspects: acclimatization, lack of socialization, isolation, and no doubt the hopes, expectations, and constant attention of the press and society brought from their country. It would be difficult to put together what most influences performances, but no doubt the whole complex of the above factors creates complex psychological and physical pressures that are really not easy to endure.

Probably the only thing we can still do for our athletes is to support them unconditionally, regardless of the results we have achieved. I would very much like to encourage our society not to criticize but to support athletes. After all, going to the Olympics or representing your country in championships is already a huge achievement, requiring a lot of strength, time, dedication, dedication.

I would encourage athletes, coaches, sports medicine doctors to pay more attention to mental health. If there are any signs or difficulties that affect mood, motivation, energy, changes in sleep or diet, such as anxiety, unexplained pain, exhaustion, possibly depressed mood or condition, a professional athlete-specific assessment of the condition is required. Even if there are only questions, it is necessary to look for answers, not to ignore and not to hide problems – on the contrary, to try to understand them, to help athletes to be not only physically strong, but also emotionally and psychologically healthy. After all, they are our heroes.


Source: 15min.lt – suprasti akimirksniu | RSS by www.15min.lt.

*The article has been translated based on the content of 15min.lt – suprasti akimirksniu | RSS by www.15min.lt. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!