Liz Cambage quits Olympics over mental health fears
Post created on 10:23 am
Australian Olympic basketball star Liz Cambage pulled out of the Tokyo Games Friday, citing a struggle with her mental health fuelled by the thought of “terrifying” isolation in the Olympic bubble.
Cambage — a stalwart of Australian women’s Olympic basketball team, the Opals — said she could not confidently compete on the world stage while suffering “panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating”.
“I’ve been really worried about heading into a ‘bubble’ Olympics,” the four-time WNBA All-Star said in a statement.
“No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me.”
“It breaks my heart to announce I’m withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it’s best for the Opals and myself.”
Australia’s Olympic chef de mission Ian Chesterman said he understood the decision and wished her a full recovery.
“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns,” Chesterman said.
“We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health.”
The 29-year-old won bronze with the Opals at the 2012 London Olympics.
She is the second Australian basketballer to withdraw from the Games citing mental health concerns after former Dallas Mavericks swingman Ryan Broekhoff pulled out in June.
Earlier this year, Cambage briefly threatened to boycott the competition over a lack of racial diversity in promotional photos published by the Australian Olympic Committee.
The Committee said future photo shoots would reflect its diversity of athletes.