POV podcast: Silken Laumann on mental health among athletes

On this week's episode of the Player's Own Voice podcast, one of Canada’s most celebrated Olympians Silken Laumann tackles the tough topic of mental health struggles among athletes and adjusting to post-competitive life.

Celebrated Canadian Olympian also discusses post-competitive life and goal fulfilment

Canada's Silken Laumann overcame a lot on her path to the Olympic podium. (Hans Deryk/Canadian Press)

One of Canada's most celebrated Olympians has a thoughtful answer to a thorny question — why is it so hard for athletes to talk about mental health?

Silken Laumann argues that it's simply because athletes are tough.

To make it in the high performance world means years and years of a "no excuses, suck it up, grit it out and deliver on the day" mentality… So, uttering a single peep about a mental health issue is the total opposite of everything they know.  

Makes sense doesn't it? Codified toughness.

Silken and host of Player's Own Voice, Anastasia Bucsis, also take a moment to mull over the seldom acknowledged importance of de-training – the process of ramping down from go-go-go fitness to a more ordinary, post-competitive life.  

    The pair of them go three-for-three on topics that are important but underserved — taking another opportunity to consider the strangely mixed emotions of goal fulfilment.

    Athletes might spend decades aiming at a single event — a medal at this or that competition. The goal gives life its shape and structure. So, if everything is great and the dream comes true… the success of a medal fades…THEN what?  

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