Former Olympian supports mental health, and Biles

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TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 25: Simone Biles of Team United States reacts after competing on balance beam during Women’s Qualification on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Mental health is an important aspect in everyone’s lives and also in the sports world.  

“For a long time traditionally, there was this no pain no gain environment.” 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Team USA handball player Amy Gamble says sports have not always been inclusive to those struggling with their mental health. 

Sports can be high stakes, which can worsen issues you’re already dealing with.   

“That makes it very difficult when you’re internalizing those pressures and you’re dealing with things like anxiety or depression or panic attacks or things like that.“ 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Simone Biles made headlines this week for taking a step back to focus on her mental health and Gamble understands why.  

“She’s under a tremendous amount of pressure. Not only for her performance as an athlete, but also with expectations from everybody around the world. “ 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Gamble says mental health in the sporting world can often be misunderstood because it cannot be seen. 

“If she had a broken arm or leg, no one would even question it.  It would just be empathy and compassion.”  

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Yet she says she could tell Biles was struggling.  

“Watching as she’s faltering or making mistakes, you can tell that something was not quite right for her.“ 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Gamble also felt the pressure herself back in 1988, but says it was nothing compared to what Biles is experiencing. 

“We didn’t have an expectation that we were going to win a gold medal, so we didn’t have that kind of pressure.  But there certainly is pressure representing the United States.” 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

On or off the mat, mental health is important for everyone so pay attention to yourself. 

“If you realize that you’re struggling that you reach out as soon as possible.” 

Amy Gamble – Mental Health Advocate / Former Olympian

Gamble says she recommends paying attention to your mental health before you get to a bad place.  

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