Athletes Withdrawing From Tournaments Or The Olympics

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Rihana, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    During the French Open in May, Naomi Osaka posted in social media that she wouldn't do the post match press conference. She was fined for breaking that part of the contract. Eventually, she withdrew from the tournament itself. The Naomi Osaka French Open Controversy Explained

    Yesterday, Simone Biles decided not to join her teammates in the gymnastics finals at the Olympics. Simone Biles delivers powerful message to Olympic teammates after exiting gymnastics event

    1) How well do Osaka or Biles help draw attention to mental health issues faced by top athletes?

    2) Would a Russian or a Chinese gymnast withdraw like Biles did?
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  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    1) I’m not sure. These are still incredibly privileged people and the response seems to 70/30 outrage vs sympathy. It’s like Meghan Markle complaining about her mental health.

    2) No or extremely unlikely. In countries like China, Russia and the former Soviet bloc the conditioning of athletes is completely different. The focus is on the performance of the country, not the feelings of the individual.
     
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  3. NOW

    NOW Silver IL'ite

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    For some reason this post reminded me of the postpartum depression and the overwhelming feeling mothers go through when the whole world puts motherhood on pedestal . Even worse for working women where the guilt eats them up on both parenting and career front. I cannot imagine what these high performing athletes go through !!
     
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  4. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    In the case of Naomi Osaka, her unprofessionalism stood out more to me. In her words:

    Osaka concluded her statement by saying she suffers “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking with the media. “So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self‑care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that,” she wrote.

    Boycotting the media midway in a tournament after having signed a contract that included media obligations is simply put, unprofessional. A better way to draw attention to the mental health challenges athletes face would be to withdraw from the event with minimal drama and let attention stay on the mental health issues. Engaging in twitter wars with the tournament organizers is silly.

    Athletes at Osaka's level have the best coaches, trainers, counselors, publicity managers and medical professionals available to offer them individual help and care. If all of them were unable to anticipate Osaka's stress or anxiety from media obligations or prep her for those, they are not good at their job. The reason the athletes make millions of dollars from playing and endorsements is that the media connects them to their fans. It is the same media that spreads the messages that the athletes want to share with the world, be it gender equality, LGBTQ awareness or police brutality to black people.

    I think the blame for the mental stress and anxiety that the athletes experience is being wrongly placed on the media and their post-match questions. Those pesky questions about their athletic weaknesses can be handled with a few tried and tested, well-rehearsed responses. The standard “no-comment” is always available.

    About Simone Biles withdrawal, I have mixed feelings. While the pressure of expectations must be brutal, she did desert her team. She quit on them. Of course they will support her. They will not speak against a person who cites "mental health" and not when that person is black. No way!

    And while the qualifying rules are complicated, in a way she took away a spot from a person who didn't make it to the team.

    If athletes are able to withdraw for mental health reasons like they do for physical health reasons, then, the selection should include a mental health evaluation and comparison too. Competition at the Olympics level is both physical and mental. v

    Though all sportspersons like Billie Jean King, Navratilova, Michael Phelps and others come out in support like on cue, I don't think such withdrawals help bring attention to mental health issues in a way that helps rank and file who deal with these issues.

    Not unless they have fully approved asylum in another country first. : )
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
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  5. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Oh yes Meghan Markle. When she spoke about her miscarriages, I thought she was doing her bit to highlight a topic still not much talked about. But, when they started crying on Oprah's interview about the terrible royal in-laws .. I was not impressed. Announcing their decision to step down from duties on social media was a low blow to a king and queen in their mid-90's. And good Lord, they've gone on to sign lucrative deals all based on the royal duties they quit. LOL. If all that royal life was so stressful, then quietly fade away from public life and do your charity work etc. Don't hold hands seated opposite Oprah and crib about family.
     
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  6. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Athletes like Biles cannot blame only the world for putting them on a pedestal. She did a lot of that pedestal climbing herself too.. touting herself as GOAT even as recently as the team trials. If you spend time choosing the goat design, and where all it should appear in the costume, and wear leotards with crystal-encrusted goat emblazoned on it, you are expected to perform like the GOAT.

    goat.PNG
     
  7. Roar

    Roar Gold IL'ite

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    Indian athletes from north east... how come their lives are so easy to win medals and on the other hand 'well take care' ones have mental health issues.

    I cant say she is faking but I am tempted to.I think she was not trained to take bad scores/failures and that was that. Since a child I loved gymnastics... from Nadia to Olga and our own Deepa Karmakar. Many times they failed yet put one foot in fromt of the other. I was starting to like Biles too... what a shame. Sport is not just about physical ability but 'hiding' behind mental issue is disrespectful for people who are suffering from it.
     
  8. Roar

    Roar Gold IL'ite

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    Above said, I would NEVER want anyone else to have what Elena Mukhina had. Not totally ready and probably just 0.5 sec of delay in her Thomas salto, ergo paralyised neck down at 20yrs, this was after all the hard work and passion put into the sport; also she was an orphan.

    Gymnastics are beautiful but unforgiving.

    Simone might have opted out out of the same fear. Although now da days most dangerous saltos arebanned and floor has springs, she was probably afriad of her potential injuries. IF ... that was the case that is.
     

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