Anna Gasser dives right in.
And she's not the only one cooling off in the water...
Piotr Lisek is national champion.
Miguel Tudela gets philosophical.
Fabio Basile works up a sweat.
A shirtless Arthur Nory to start us off...
Sjinkie Knegt gets contemplative while working out.
Brisa Hennessy gets poetic.
Dominik Dvorak and co. are coming at ya'.
Harrie Lavreysen represents in orange.
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.
Is London 2012 long jump legend Greg Rutherford the next bobsled Olympic medal hopeful for Team Great Britain? He's going for it.
Iranian star weightlifter Kianoush Rostami wins a gold medal consolation prize ahead of a Tokyo 2020 competition in which he would have been a strong favorite.
Will the famous Barry family of basketball legend make it to the Olympics through 3x3 star Canyon?
Also in basketball...French teammates Diandra Tchatchouang and Valeriane Ayayi-Vukosavljevic are looking not just for Tokyo 2020 success but to represent women as well.
New Zealand's champion rower Jackie Kiddle hit with an Olympic withdrawal out of her control.
Russia keeps on churning gymnastics stars out. Newly eligible senior gymnast Viktoriia Listunova is the new star to watch for women's gymnastics as she wins the European title.
More gymnastics: Hear from Great Britain's star Max Whitlock on his start in the sport, the impact of London 2012, and more, in a quick video from FIG.
And more: Does Simone Biles' new sponsorship represent a shot across the bow to USA Gymnastics?
The two Svetlanas - Romashina and Kolesnichenko - talk with Fina.org on their Olympic goals as the leading artistic swimming duet for Russia after their strong 2021 start.
Julio Cesar La Cruz has designs on carrying the Cuban boxing standard for Tokyo 2020 (and through Paris 2024), if he can make it there despite a weight class change.
Water polo stars Maggie Steffens and Ashleigh Johnson share with People their experiences on the Team USA: "It's one of the most empowering spaces for women".
Hear BMX racing gold medalist Connor Fields' thoughts on Tokyo 2020's course, and more on Keep the Flame Alive's latest podcast.
Tennis player Carla Suarez Navarro announces a recovery from Hodgkin's Lymphona. Will we see her in Tokyo this summer?
But count Team France's 'enfant terrible' of tennis out of an Olympic appearance...
Canadian ice hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser weighs in on whether an Olympics during the current pandemic is still viable.
But more from ice hockey...the women's ice hockey worlds are postponed (?) with short notice and U.S. star Kendall Coyne Schofield has some thoughts.
It's all good will amongst Mexico's men's beach volleyball teams as they compete to earn their nation a spot at Tokyo 2020.
From last month, a great piece in The New York Times not only profiling Tokyo 2020's sport climbing favorite Adam Ondra, but also a good sense of the Olympic event itself.
Panagiotis Gionis will appear at his fifth Olympic Games this summer, as the table tennis stalwart made it through European qualification this weekend.
U.S. runner Nikki Hiltz opens up to NBC Sports' On Her Turf re: transgender identity while an athlete.
Irish hurdler Thomas Barr articulates the risk of lessening youth interest in track & field due to the pandemic.
Can Switzerland's women sprinters challenge for a medal in the relay? The team has confidence.
Learn about Spiridon Louis, inaugural modern Olympic marathon winner at Athens 1896. It's the 125th anniversary of the event on April 10th.
Tegla Loroupe was a fighter as a long-distance runner - and one of my favorites to cheer - and she continues to fight in retirement, as a champion for using sport for peace and education.
Swimmer Aliaksandra Hersimenia: Belarus' repression against its own athletes continues.
Former German bobsledder Christoph Langen gets a new role with the IBSF.
Best wishes to Koji Murofushi, Athens 2004 and London 2012 hammer throw medalist, who is reportedly battling brain lymphona.
Vanessa Chala becomes the 16th Ecuadorian to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, and the sixth Ecuadorian judoka ever. (in Spanish)
And, Rckaela Aquino is the first female from Guam to qualify - on merit, rather than continental allocation - to an Olympics, with her second-place finish at the African & Oceania Wrestling Olympic Qualification.
Equality: A U.S. Olympic soccer star takes a U.S. Olympic basketball star to school...
Cyclist Kasper Asgreen may not really be a surprise Tour de Flanders winner, but it sure sets hims up for increased attention.
Snowboarder Chloe Kim shares her experience and concerns with recent anti-Asian American sentiment in the United States.
Rio 2016 Olympic medalist Lydia Ko: the greatest final round ever in women's golf?
Congrats to Japanese athletic stars assisting the torch relay this week, including Takuya Haneda (canoeing), Mizuki Noguchi (marathon), Saori Yoshida and Sara Dosho (wrestling), Yuji Nishida and Emiko Miyamoto (volleyball), Tadahiro Nomura (judo), and Ayaka Tadahashi (badminton).
Can Mathea Olin secure a spot in women's surfing at Tokyo 2020, and represent Canada in a somewhat 'non-Canadian' sport?
Star Swedish curler Niklas Edin has won three world championships in Canada, and now he's trying for a fourth in Calgary this week.
U..S. wrestler Kyle Dake will make his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 after denying one of the sport's most visible stars a return trip to the Games.
Taekwondo star athlete Bianca Walkden is aiming to complete an "unprecedented" treble of World Championship, European Championship, and Olympic Championship this summer.
About This Blog
Random highlights from the world of Olympic sports athletes, through the cheeky lens of one particular, passionate fan.
A Little Roundup
Select links to Olympic sports headlines & news, focused on celebrating athletes' stories
Let's Get Social
Sharing some of my favorite fun and candid social media posts from Olympic sports athletes
Athletes Worth Watching
A quick look at emerging and some lesser-known Olympic sports athletes worth keeping an eye on
Ramblings and Things
I have my own comment and opinions on Olympic sports news sometimes!
A Quick Review
Thoughts on Olympic sports films, art, books, TV, etc. that I've come across now and then
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.