South Africa: The Olympic Dream and Dealing With Depression As an Elite Athlete

opinion

If you've ever done any sort of watersport - surfing, rowing, anything - you'll be familiar with the feeling of losing your balance. Sometimes, you see it coming, sometimes it comes as a surprise. Sometimes, you manage to stop it just in time. It's a bit like life, isn't it?

Being a professional athlete is interesting. People often use the word "sacrifice" to describe the hours and hours that go into our training.

Sacrifice is a bit of a weird word, though.

In our rowing team, we said we don't sacrifice anything, this is a choice of ours, so we don't see it as a sacrifice.

Sure, there were a lot of things we missed out on. But when you are fully focused on the Olympic dream, you barely even realise that not going on holiday with your family or spending time with friends is something strange.

Then one day, when you step back, you realise, wow... there's a lot of stuff I haven't been paying attention to.

Sometimes those who love you even try to protect you from distractions. The whole family buys into your dream, your desire. Stuff can pile up. But as athletes, we keep going because...

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