HBO is set to premiere a new documentary tonight about the mental struggles of Olympic athletes, in which the likes of Shaun White, Lolo Jones, Apolo Ohno, and more talk about mental health, money troubles, and even suicidal thoughts.
The Weight Of Gold, which premieres on July 29 at 9 p.m. and was directed by Brett Rapkin, is narrated by 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, who himself has been quite candid with his struggles with depression.
Through interviews with Phelps, White, Jones, Ohno, Sasha Cohen, Bode Miller, and more, the documentary explores the terrible mental toll that training for and competing in the Olympics can take — and how it has led to numerous suicides among star athletes.
On tonight: HBO is set to premiere a new documentary tonight about the mental struggles of Olympic athletes
Telling the story: The Weight Of Gold, which premieres on July 29 at 9 p.m., is narrated by Michael Phelps
Opening up: Phelps has been candid about his mental health struggles and battle with depression
‘We’re lost,’ Phelps said. ‘We spent four years grinding for that one moment. And now we don’t know what the hell to do. ‘I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore. I didn’t want to be alive’
Most Olympic athletes have trained for the competition for their entire lives, with nearly all honing their skills since childhood. It becomes their sole interest and passion, and how they spend nearly all of their time.
‘I thought of myself as just a swimmer, and not a human being,’ Phelps says in the doc. ‘Nobody who is going to expend that kind of effort, to achieve that kind of goal, is going to be just like everybody else.’
So when it’s over, it’s no surprise that many would suffer what the film calls the ‘post-Olympic blues’.
In fact, Phelps says 80 per cent or more go through a ‘post-Olympic depression.’
‘After every Olympics, win or lose, I’ve just felt like a dramatic emptiness,’ Shaun White, who has won three gold medals for snowboarding, said, according to Refinery29.
‘Your whole world is built around this one day, and you’re putting so much on it. So much expectation, and pressure, and interviews… After every Olympics, there’s this incredible crash. Nothing really matters as much anymore.’
Gold medal: Fellow Olympian Shaun White also appears int he documentary
‘After every Olympics, win or lose, I’ve just felt like a dramatic emptiness,’ he admitted
He went on: ‘After every Olympics, there’s this incredible crash. Nothing really matters as much anymore’
Several discussed thinking about suicide.
‘We’re lost. We’re just so lost,’ Phelps said. ‘We spent four years grinding for that one moment. And now we don’t know what the hell to do.
‘I didn’t want to be in the sport anymore. I didn’t want to be alive … You do contemplate suicide.’
‘Post-2008, I was so broken down,’ Lolo Jones, a hurdler and bobsledder, added. ‘I would just want to be gone.’
David Boudia, a three-time Olympic diver, admitted that he thought, ‘what’s the point of going to the Olympic games, what’s the point of sacrificing and training all of these hours if this is what I have to show for it?
Sadly, for several, thoughts have turned into action. The documentary looks at several Olympians who died by suicide, including bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic (who died this May at age 43), racing cyclist Kelly Catlin (who died in March 2019 at age 23), and skier Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson (who died in 2011 at age 29).
‘Post-2008, I was so broken down,’ Lolo Jones, a hurdler and bobsledder, added. ‘I would just want to be gone’
Realities: Jones also discussed money troubles, recalling watching a replay of her own Olympic performance on TV while working for minimum wage at a gym juice bar
She said: ‘I’ve had years where I can make a killing, and then I’ve had years where… for bobsled, my check was $725 for the whole season. Tell me how I’m supposed to live off of that’
Bobsledder Steve Holcomb was even interviewed for the film before he died in May 2017 by suicide at age 37.
But according to those in the film, there is no support system in place to help those who are struggling, even though they make up the vast majority of the athletes involved.
‘If I had blown out my knee, I know for a fact that I would’ve had the top physical therapist, the top surgeon… absolutely whatever I needed,’ figure skater Gracie Gold said.
‘I mentioned one time before to someone in the federation that, actually I’m going through some really dark shit right now and it’s really interfering. And they said, “Oh, you can look up a therapist in your area.”‘
Phelps agreed: ‘I can say now, looking back at my career, I don’t think anybody really cared to help us. I don’t think anybody really jumped in to ask us if we were okay. As long as we were performing, I don’t think anything else really mattered.’
Other problems contribute to mental health troubles, including the often dire financial situations of the athletes.
Tragic: The documentary looks at several Olympians who died by suicide, including bobsledder Pavle Jovanovic (who died this May at age 43)
Lost: Racing cyclist Kelly Catlin (who died in March 2019 at age 23) and skier Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson (who died in 2011 at age 29) are also mentioned in the film
Bobsledder Steve Holcomb was even interviewed for the film before he died in May 2017 by suicide at age 37
While some of the most famous winners go on to score sponsorship deals — Phelps and White being among them — those who get rich off the Olympics are well in the minority.
‘For every athlete who has a sponsor, there are hundreds who need to take a second job just to make ends meet while they’re training,’ Phelps said.
And while they’re still training, many athletes are living on measly stipends and working minimum wage jobs.
Phelps revealed that for USA swim, the stipend was just $1,700/month, which comes to $20,400 a year.
At one point, Jones says she was living off just $7,000 a year. She remembers watching a replay of of her races on television while working at a gym juice bar, making $7 an hour.
‘I’ve had years where I can make a killing, and then I’ve had years where… for bobsled, my check was $725 for the whole season. Tell me how I’m supposed to live off of that.’
‘There are so many of us out there that really are struggling,’ Phelps said in a Today show interview with Savannah Guthrie this morning
‘We just have to change the perception that problems with mental health are something to hide,’ he added
Yet most fans of the Olympics never realize that the athletes they cheer on are struggling quite so much, and with the film, Phelps hopes to further demystify mental illness and encourage more to seek help.
‘There are so many of us out there that really are struggling,’ he said in a Today show interview with Savannah Guthrie this morning.
‘It took five Olympics for me to really see it. And I think me being in the mental state that I was going into 2016 allowed me the opportunity to be open to have the interactions that I had with other athletes that led me to believe that there are others that are struggling and struggling very, very hard.
‘It was wild to see that I wasn’t alone but it also made me feel good because there were other people that could help me understand that it’s OK to not be OK.’
He added that ‘It’s difficult to show vulnerability, especially as an athlete.
‘We just have to change the perception that problems with mental health are something to hide,’ he added.
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Toddler is killed after being hit by a 4WD on a rural property in South Australia
A toddler has tragically died after being hit by a 4WD on a rural property in South Australia.
The 17-month-old baby girl was hit by the family vehicle on their property on Victor Harbor Road, about 3.45pm on Friday.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and desperately tried to save the young child.
The 17-month-old baby girl was hit by the family vehicle on their property on Victor Harbor Road (pictured), about 3.45pm on Friday
Unfortunately, she did not survive.
Major Crash investigators are investigating the cause of the accident.
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Jaimi Kenny battled alcoholism and eating disorder before she died at a Sunshine Coast hospital
The daughter of Australian sporting greats Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny had been devastated by the loss of her ‘soulmate’ boyfriend and battled alcoholism and an eating disorder before she passed away this week.
Jaimi Kenny passed away at Sunshine Coast University Hospital on Monday morning surrounded by her family, including both her Olympian mother and Ironman father.
The family will farewell their daughter at a funeral on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The 33-year-old had been supported by her parents and siblings as she struggled with an eating disorder, alcoholism and the loss of her then-boyfriend Lachy Crossley in July 2017, Daily Telegraph reported.
Lachy’s mother Gayle described the couple as ‘a modern day Romeo and Juliet’ that had made plans to ‘be together forever’.
The pair had only just moved in together before Lachy passed away at the age of 31.
Jaimi had also been battling alcoholism and had struggled to cope with the loss of her then-boyfriend Lachy Crossley in July 2017
Jaimi Kenny, 33, had long battled an eating disorder, with her family supporting her through years of treatment at a private clinic (Jaimi, left, is pictured with her family at her sister Morgan’s 2016 wedding)
Devastated: Lisa Curry (right) has released a heartbreaking statement about the death of her daughter Jaimi (left) on Monday
Jaimi is the eldest daughter of Australian sporting champions Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny. She is pictured sitting on her mother’s shoulders as she arrives home from the 1990 Commonwealth Games with a gold medal around her neck
Her model brother Jett (left) paid tribute to his sister on Tuesday, admitting that while he ‘may not have been the best brother’ to Jaimi (right) they ‘loved one another unconditionally’
‘They were a beautiful couple with beautiful souls,’ Gayle said.
‘Lachy had an infectious laugh and Jaimi just beamed.’
Dr Crossley-Craven labelled Lachy ‘an absolute gentleman’.
‘He taught her to skate and they loved going to the beach together. They certainly loved each other and they both loved children.’
Despite her ongoing struggles, friends of Jaimi told how she always brought ‘light and laughter’ to the lives of those she around her.
Her model brother Jett paid tribute to his sister on Tuesday, admitting that while he ‘may not have been the best brother’ they ‘loved one another unconditionally’.
‘I may not have been the best brother to you all the time, I know you thought you weren’t being the big sister I needed all the time, but I do know we loved one another unconditionally all the time,’ he wrote.
‘I will love you forever. Rest In Peace my beautiful big sister, the world lost one of its treasures yesterday but heaven gained one. You will be dearly missed by all whose lives you touched.’
Jaimi had been receiving treatment for her eating disorder at private clinic End ED, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Among those to pay tribute to Jaimi in the wake of the news of her death was End ED clinician Millie Thomas.
‘You are my best friend and my soul sister and you always will be,’ Ms Thomas wrote.
‘My heart is shattered into a million pieces right now – I can’t fathom life without you.
‘My days will never ever be the same without your love, your light and your laughter.
‘You mean the world to me darling heart and I will love you forever and always.’
Lisa shared a statement just hours earlier telling of her family’s ‘unbearable’ pain at the death of her ‘beautiful daughter’.
‘Our hearts are completely broken. Our beautiful daughter Jaimi has lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital yesterday morning with her loving family by her side,’ Lisa wrote.
‘So loved. So beautiful. So kind to everyone… So painful. I can barely breathe.
‘Rest In Peace my beautiful big sister, the world lost one of its treasures yesterday but heaven gained one,’ Jett Kenny wrote on his emotional Instagram tribute to Jaimi on Tuesday
Gone too soon: Jaimi is the daughter of Lisa and her ex-husband, Australian ironman champion Grant Kenny (who is pictured with his daughter as a baby)
Tragedy: Lisa’s ex-husband Grant Kenny announced their ‘caring and loving’ daughter had died at Sunshine Coast University Hospital on Monday morning
Unclear: Neither the family’s statement on Monday nor Lisa’s Instagram update on Tuesday specified the exact nature of Jaimi’s illness
Grieving: Jaimi (centre) is survived by her Ironman father, former pro swimmer mother (right), brother Jett (left) and sister Morgan
‘Jaimi will forever be remembered as a caring, bright and loving soul who always put others before herself. Her love of flowers, cooking, art, decorating, photography, babies, the beach, and helping others will always be remembered.
‘Our hearts are broken and the pain is unbearable but we cherish every wonderful moment we got to share with our treasured and so loved first child.’
Lisa’s ex-husband Grant broke the news of their daughter’s death on Monday with a public statement.
Jaimi was the couple’s eldest child, and a sibling to sister Morgan and son Jett.
Lisa and Grant married in 1986 and were one of Australia’s most famous couples with both enjoying individual sporting success on the world stage.
But after their separation in 2019, Grant has since welcomed a fourth child with radio presenter Fifi Box, while Lisa married Elvis impersonator Mark Tabone in 2018.
Jaimi continued a close friendship with Fifi even after she separated from her father.
Lisa’s husband Mark Tabone also addressed the tragedy in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
‘As the tears flow and the heart aches, I write this as a tribute to beautiful young lady, who’s life ended way too soon,’ he wrote.
‘Bright, caring and loving soul’: The 58-year-old former competitive swimmer spoke of her ‘unbearable’ pain in a gut-wrenching Instagram post on Tuesday (above). Her post was interspersed with pink floral emojis – an ode to Jaimi’s ‘love of flowers’
Sad: ‘Our hearts are broken and the pain is unbearable but we cherish every wonderful moment we got to share with our treasured and so loved first child,’ Lisa said
Condolences: Lisa’s husband, Elvis Presley impersonator Mark Tabone (left), also addressed the tragedy in an Instagram post on Tuesday. Pictured with Lisa and Jaimi
Pillar of support: He thanked the public for their condolences and said his ‘job now is to nurture my wife through this unimaginable time’
‘As your mother and father weep your loss, I too feel lost and heavy hearted. Nobody should ever lose their child.
‘You always put everybody else first. You were gifted with many talents, amazing cook, arts and crafts, writing, and your love and creativity with flowers.’
He went on to thank the public for their condolences and said his ‘job now is to nurture my wife through this unimaginable time’.
The Curry-Kenny family confirmed Jaimi’s death on Monday afternoon with a public statement.
‘It is with a very heavy heart that Lisa and I confirm that our beautiful daughter Jaimi has lost her battle with a long-term illness and passed away peacefully in hospital this morning in the company of loving family,’ read a statement from Grant Kenny.
‘Jaimi will forever be remembered as a caring, bright and loving soul who always put others before herself.
‘Our hearts are broken and the pain is immense but we must move forward cherishing every wonderful moment we got to share with our treasured first child.
Family ties: Lisa is pictured with her son Jett (left), surviving daughter Morgan (right) and her grandson Flynn
RIP: Jaimi is pictured as a child with her mother, a three-time Olympian and former swimmer
Co-parents: Lisa and Grant separated in 2009 after 23 years of marriage, before finalising their divorce in 2017. They are pictured with Jaimi on the Sunshine Coast on April 3, 2008
New chapter: In 2013, Grant, 57, welcomed a daughter named Trixie Belle with radio presenter Fifi Box (right). Fifi – who had a close friendship with her ex’s adult children, including Jaimi (left) – did not acknowledge Grant was the father of her daughter until 2016. Pictured in 2017
‘We thank the incredible team at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for their tireless commitment to making her better and giving us as the extra time we were able to spend with her.
‘It goes without saying that this is a very difficult time for family and friends and we trust we will all be allowed to grieve in privacy.’
Jaimi had just turned 33 in June, with her mother taking to social media at the time to wish her a happy birthday.
‘Our first born. Really… where have all those years gone! Have a lovely day bubba. We all love you so much,’ Lisa wrote.
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Family-of-six forced to live in caravans in Toowoomba after Foxtel installer drilled into asbestos
A family-of-six have been forced to live in caravans in their backyard for nearly three weeks after a Foxtel installer accidentally drilled a hole into their ceiling, exposing them to deadly asbestos.
Army veterans Damien and Leonie Morse and their four children, had only been in their new home in Toowoomba west of Brisbane for five weeks before they had decided to install Foxtel.
But a 2.5cm wide hole ended up being drilled into the roof and asbestos fell onto the floor, infecting the whole house.
To make matters worse the family were unaware that the white powder that fell from the ceiling was actually toxic and they remained in the house for a week.
Mr Morse said he and his family are now praying they will be compensated after losing an estimated $80,000 in contaminated furniture.
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Army veterans Damien and Leonie Morse are now asking for Foxtel to compensate their losses
The family-of-six were told they’d only be out of their house for three days but are now nearly up to three weeks
‘We were told we couldn’t go back to the house so we literally only had the clothes on our back,’ Mr Morse told A Current Affair.
‘We were essentially homeless veterans, we had nowhere to go.’
The couple said they had no idea they had any asbestos in their ceiling because a building report did not suggest to carry out an inspection.
Luckily for the Morse family, relatives, neighbours and an army charity chipped in to set the family up in caravans but it wasn’t easy going.
‘Everyone’s just tired and stressed,’ Mrs Morse said.
‘I vacuumed the house and also our car and in essence I’ve spread asbestos throughout the whole house.’
The Morse family have been living in caravans on their property for nearly three weeks after asbestos entered their home
‘The fact that the kids are thinking are they going to die of asbestos poisoning now, like how do you deal with that?’ Mr Morse said.
The family have now been warned the majority of their furniture has been infected including beds, clothes and a beloved rug that had been in the family for 60 years.
‘You can’t put a price on that,’ Mr Morse said.
‘We don’t want millions of dollars we just want to be fairly compensated for our losses.’
The family say their biggest issue is sitting in limbo wondering when they will be able to go back inside their house.
‘We email them, we ring them, and nothing gets done, nothing,’ Mrs Morse said.
The Foxtel contractor had accidentally drilled a hole into the ceiling resulting in asbestos falling down into the living room
‘If you’re going to throw out all our stuff, replace it.’
Foxtel had contracted BSA Limited who then subcontracted a worker from Pixie Machinery to carry out the installation.
Pixie Machinery initially offered to fix the hole and cover the cost before discovering the asbestos and bringing in a licensed company to remove it.
Foxtel said $5,000 had since been paid to the Morse family and further testing had been undertaken on Thursday.
The results are expected to be given on Monday and will determine whether the family can move back in to their home.
Foxtel said in a statement it apologises for the ‘major inconveniences’ caused to the Morse family and their contractors had carried out an $18,000 clean of the home.
‘Two independent assessments have been made of the residual hazard. The first was made by the asbestos removalist and the second by a specialist air-quality and safety company,’ the company said.
‘These assessments have provided conflicting advice about the remaining risk at Mr Morse’s home. The most recent tests by the specialist air-quality company indicate his home is safe, and Mr Morse and his family can return.
‘Foxtel’s priority is to get Mr Morse back into his home as soon as possible. Given the conflicting safety advice, we share Mr Morse’s uncertainty about returning.’
The family’s Foxtel charges have also been put on hold.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted BSA Limited for comment.
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