The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced that women’s basketball player Liz Cambage — a star player on the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces — has withdrawn from the Australian Olympic Team and will not compete in Tokyo.
“It’s no secret that in the past I’ve struggled with my mental health and recently I’ve been really worried about heading into a ‘bubble’ Olympics,” Cambage said in a statement posted on her social media accounts. “No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me. The past month I’ve been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating.”
“Relying on daily meditation to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now,” she continued. “Especially walking into competition on the world’s biggest sporting stage. I know myself, and I know I can’t be the Liz everyone deserves to compete for the Opals. Not right now at least. I need to take care of myself mentally and physically.”
Cambage is the latest star to relinquish her position in a competition for mental health issues. Prior to her, Naomi Osaka made headlines when she dropped out of the French Open, Berlin WTA’s 5000 grass-court tournament and Wimbledon for similar reasons.
She later penned an open letter about mental health in which she suggested measures that can be taken to cater to the mental wellness of competing athletes, including a “small number of sick days per year.”
“Athletes are humans. Tennis is our privileged profession, and of course there are commitments off the court that coincide,” Osaka wrote. “But I can’t imagine another profession where a consistent attendance record (I have missed one press conference in my seven years on tour) would be so harshly scrutinized.”
See Cambage’s announcement below.
Sending love and support to Liz.