Sunday, July 21, 2024
sports

Mindfulness area for Athlets

Three years after Simone Biles highlighted athletes’ mental health at the Tokyo Olympics, the upcoming Paris Games will showcase how this awareness has led to better care and support.

Biles withdrew from most of her events in Tokyo due to mental health issues and the “twisties,” a disorienting condition for gymnasts.

In preparation for Paris 2024, starting July 26, organizers and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) emphasize that lessons have been learned. Kirsty Burrows, Head of Safe Sport at the IOC, stated that they aim to make the Olympics a positive experience for all athletes.

For the first time, competitors in Paris will have access to a “mindfulness and relaxation area” called the “365 Athlete365 Mind Zone,” featuring virtual reality meditation, sleep pods, and art activities in a soothing environment.

Athletes will also have an alcohol-free bar, social areas, and guidance on maintaining good mental health by avoiding excessive screen time. A mental health helpline in 70 languages will be available, and around 90 national teams will bring their own mental health officers.

Experts note that elite athletes face mental health issues similar to the general population but are more vulnerable due to high pressure. High-profile athletes like Biles, Naomi Osaka, and Ian Thorpe have helped break the stigma, encouraging others to share their struggles.

In response to these revelations, organizations like the International Climbing Federation have implemented health checks to identify at-risk athletes. Additionally, the Paris Games will employ AI to combat cyber-harassment, offering all athletes an opt-in service to monitor and address abusive posts.

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