Kjetil Jansrud and co. are put through their paces.
Mathieu van der Poel at play...
Team NZ's Sarah Goss takes a scenic dip.
A power couple has a big announcement.
Carissa Moore contemplates home.
(Or, Just How Many Rhythmic Gymnasts Can Make This Post?)
Tamyra Mensah-Stock goes with the photoshoot flow.
Mikaela Shiffrin gets away from the slopes in the offseason.
Julio Castillo prepares himself.
Lourdes Mohedano celebrates Cordoba.
Ivona Dadic offers some sunshine.
The Weight of Gold (2020)
A Quick Film Review
The approaching end of Mental Health Awareness Month inspired another look at last year's The Weight of Gold documentary, highlighting the more-common-than-you'd-think unseen challenges elite athletes face.
As narrator, star swimmer Michael Phelps is well-qualified to lend his voice. History's most-decorated Olympian, he has been open over the last handful of years about the difficulties he has faced with depression.
The Weight of Gold's other participants - fellow Olympians experiencing a variety of success - are frank in leveraging their personal insights, shedding light on the pervasiveness of added mental pressure.
Commentary from freestyle skier Jeremy Bloom (also listed as co-executive producer), diver David Boudia, figure skaters Sasha Cohen and Gracie Gold, bobsledder Steve Holcomb, hurdler/bobsledder Lolo Jones, skier Bode Miller, short track speed skater Apolo Ohno, skeleton race Katie Uhlaender, and snowboarder Shaun White help paint a picture which underscores the under-publicized struggles elite-level athletes face in high performance.
Driven by Olympic dreams from a young age, these athletes face a life hyper-focused on attaining Olympic success, with everything non-Olympic goal related viewed as an obstacle to block out. The narrow vision sets them up for shock once dreams are unfulfilled or end. What happens when they experience failure or end their careers? Too many are not prepared for how to define themselves outside of training for the one Olympic moment, and when the cameras leave.
Meanwhile, financial pressures while training often compound struggles. The vast majority of Olympians do not experience significant outside sponsor support, and any national team stipends are too paltry to adequately give relief to athletes with limited non-training time. Uhlaender is particularly powerful in her segments, revealing the added pressure of being the stipend support for the entire team, as the leader of a smaller, fringe sport.
Most poignant is watching included commentary from Holcomb, raw in his openness...filmed some time before his suicide in 2017. His death, following those of fellow Olympians Steven Scherrer and Jeret Peterson, was a marker in driving attention to mental health. But, unfortunately, not the last, as Kelly Catlin and Jack Hatton fell victim to depression just in the last couple of years.
The Weight of Gold's overarching message is what has been a glaring lack of attention to mental health from the structure of official team support, especially for retired athletes. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has taken bigger steps of late...unveiling a mental health landing page and most recently a hotline. Obviously, these are steps in the right direction. (Note: the film's producers, along with HBO Sports has a resource page, too).
In its intimate moments, The Weight of Gold reminds us that Olympians, behind the veneer of super-human athletic power, are merely humans, too, operating under extremely charged conditions. It's great to see Phelps & co. use their platform as high-profile athletes to deliver the message that it's "okay to not be okay".
But these are doubtless just an extreme few of the countless stories out there. And what of the scores of athletes who don't make an Olympic team? As the Tokyo 2020 Games quickly approach, and as we look forward to enjoying elite performance, it's key to remember their humanity, too.
Can an Australian take home heavyweight gold in boxing at Tokyo 2020? Justin Huni is ready to try.
Tanya Watson makes history for Ireland, qualifying to the Olympics in women's diving, after a semifinal placement at this past World Cup in Tokyo.
Badminton stars P.V. Sindhu and Michelle Li are named as ambassadors to the IOC's "Believe in Sport" campaign, joining a roster of other global athletes.
Gymnast Pranati Nayak is in line to receive an unexpected Olympic spot for this summer. Now she has to unexpectedly train for it.
Timna Nelson-Levy and Gili Cohen discuss Israeli strength and legacy in judo with Tokyo 2020.
Congrats to two Rio 2016 basketball medalists - Breanna Stewart and Marta Xargay - on their engagement!
Benoit Paire earns an Olympic-sized slap-on-the-wrist from the French tennis Federation.
Meanwhile, Tokyo 2020 tennis qualifications start to take shape, more than a month before final rankings come are calculated.
Can 3x3 star Karlis Lasmanis follow in his father's footsteps and make it to the Olympics for Latvia?
Brazilian Italo Ferreira helps launch The Olympic Channel's Olympic State of Body, discussing how he trains optimally to be an elite surfer.
And...ahead of today's Laureus World Sports Awards announcement, Olympians Jessica Ennis-Hill and Lindsey Vonn are named Laureus World Sports Academy members. Congrats!
The New York Times offers the story of wrestler Nick Suriano, another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic, with long-held Olympic dreams in wrestling cut abruptly.
Italian rhythmic gymnast Milena Baldassari is the latest to be immortalized as her own Barbie figure. Congrats!
Karol Dobek - known in the 400 meter hurdles - continues to showcase his 800 meter potential. What will he do come Tokyo 2020?
Ecuador's female sprinters - led by Angela Tenorio - make history for their country at last weekend's World Athletics Relays to qualify for the Olympics as a team.
Mateusz Przybylko shows off a good side.
Daria Bilodid goes glam.
Manuel Lombardo struts his Le Coq (ad).
David Llorente paddles Segovia.
Bart Deurloo is back flying.
About This Blog
Highlights from the world of Olympic sports athletes, as seen through the cheeky lens of one particular, passionate fan.
A Little Roundup
Biweekly links to select Olympic sports headlines and features, with a focus on the athletes
Let's Get Social
Sharing some intriguing, fun, and provocative social posts from Olympic sports athletes
Athletes Worth Watching
Weekly roundup of features on emerging Olympic sports athletes to keep an eye on
Ramblings and Things
I have my own comment and opinions on Olympic sports news sometimes!
A Quick Review
Now and then thoughts on Olympic sports-related films, books, etc. that I've come across
Me at Rio 2016's Barra Olympic Park
Header: Kallimarmaro stadium in Athens, site of the first modern Olympics in 1896
Read more about me.