Olympics 2024 - The Mental Challenges Faced by Athletes


The 2024 Olympics have kicked off, and it’s the place to be if you’re a professional athlete. All of the hard work and dedication leads up to this competition for many and it’s ultimately the end goal. Although, whilst reaching the Olympic stage is incredible, they’re professional athletes going for gold, silver, and bronze – and the pressure is on to take the medals home.

Professional athletes train hard all year round and when big-scale competitions like the Olympics come round, the training intensifies so that they can qualify and make it to the world’s biggest sports competition. The strict diets and meal plans, working out and practicing, injuries and recovery, there’s so much dedication that goes into reaching this stage; they put in their blood, sweat, and tears - literally.

The Mental Challenges 

We all know that it’s physically challenging, but it’s time that there’s a focus on how mentally challenging it is for athletes. Not straying from diets and pushing their body everyday can cause a lot of stress and pressure because they know they want to qualify and then come home with a medal. The pressure can come from competitions in general, themselves as individuals and their coaches or teammates. It’s one of the biggest events of their careers and making sure they do well is all they care about. The pressure and stress can also impact their wellbeing and performances, so it’s crucial that they have mental health and wellbeing support available to ensure things run the best that it can.

Competitions like the Olympics can also negatively impact athlete’s mental health because many will be disheartened by their results and placing. Some athletes time and time again might never make it to the Olympics; each time they don’t, it can chip away at their confidence, increase pressure and stress, and could lead for many to feel depression if they see themselves as ‘failures’. The same goes to those who do make it to the competition, but never reach their goals of receiving a medal. Not achieving a dream can be very disappointing and without having the emotional support and care, it can become rather dangerous and damaging to their mental health. It can negatively impact their self-esteem and create patterns of negative thoughts, especially when they have to take onboard a lot of criticisms too.  

In order to be a professional athlete, you have to have a great amount of mental health and wellbeing support so that they can be resilient and continue competing and hopefully reach their goals.

Here at UKIM Occupational Health & Wellbeing, we provide a suite of wellbeing support solutions specifically designed for athletes:

  • Immediate Support: Immediate support and guidance to manage mental health challenges.
  • Clinical Audit Trail: A date and time stamped record of the history and details around the wellbeing actions you've taken to protect your athletes and your club.
  • Psychological Expertise: Personalised counselling to enhance resilience and performance.
  • Mental Wellbeing and Anxiety: Programmes to manage anxiety and improve mental health.
  • Reducing Stigma: Safe, non-judgmental environment for seeking help.
  • Welfare of Children in Sport: Support to ensure young athletes' wellbeing and development.
  • Transition Support: Assistance for young athletes adjusting to public exposure and wealth.
  • Career-Ending Injury Support: Tailored support to cope with emotional challenges and explore alternative paths.
  • Social Media Guidance: Strategies to manage online criticism and cultivate a positive presence.
  • Clinical Escalation: Access to a panel of clinical experts to support with a range of medical issues, should this be required.

Learn more about the Mental Wellbeing services we can offer.

You can find out more details by clicking here ››

Alternatively, for more information on how we can support your business, please call 0191 512 8220, e-mail wellbeing@ukim-oh.com, or complete the form on this page - our specialist team will be in touch to help with your query.

Are you an employee?

If you have any health conditions or concerns that you are worried may impact your performance at work, we would encourage you to discuss them with your employer in a transparent and open manner. They may be able to provide support or a referral to our Occupational Health services (like Physiotherapy or Counselling) to help you manage your health at work.

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