The Weight of Gold: A Documentary Exploring The Mental Health Challenges Of Olympic Athletes

Sebastian Opazo | | Movie TrailerMovie Trailer

The Weight of Gold is a sports documentary exploring the mental health challenges that Olympic athletes often face. It recounts the uniqueness of the lives of Olympic athletes, beginning at a very young age, and the requirement to reach the top in the sport. The film is narrated and produced by the 23-times Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

The rewards that Olympic athletes receive are not compared to the effort and sacrifice they have to make. The cost they pay for success or the rejection of failure is overpriced when it comes to mental health. Olympic athletes as Sasha Cohen, Shaun White, and Jeremy Bloom are one of many who are here to tell their stories.

The film comes during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the 2020 Tokyo Games and it can be seen from the next week in HBO. 

Olympic Athletes, Depression, The Weight of Gold, Running
The Weight of Gold, HBO. Credit: TVOM

In a typical year, more than 3.6 billion people globally tune in to watch the Olympic Games. What most of these viewers don’t know is that just like one in five Americans, many of these Olympic athletes similarly face serious mental health challenges and struggle to find the necessary support and resources.

The documentary shows themes that are unknown to the general public, such as “post-Olympic depression”, a topic that isn’t talked about a lot these days. Olympians have long struggled silently against their own mental health crisis and now they are dealing with the unprecedented postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and all its implications.

“We are just so lost, the good 80% maybe more go through some kind of post-olympic depression”

Said Michael Phelps.

Michael Phelps, The Weight of Gold, Olympic Athletes, Gold
USA’s Michael Phelps celebrates with his gold medal following the Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final Issue date: Thursday, December 15, 2016. Michael Phelps won his 20th and 21st Olympic gold medals Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Credit: RollingStone

The pandemic has caused in the global population different mental anomalies, such as depression, anxiety, or stress, so what’s a better way to learn how to deal with them than through the experience of these Olympic athletes. This is one of the reasons why Michael Phelps himself decided to direct and narrate this documentary, being of great help and inspiration not only for the public in general but also for those high-performance athletes who can be going through the same problems.

The Weight of Gold seeks to inspire discussion about mental health issues, encourage people to seek help, and highlight the need for readily available support.


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One thought on “The Weight of Gold: A Documentary Exploring The Mental Health Challenges Of Olympic Athletes

  1. There us a book titled ‘Mastery’ by author George Leonard in 1992, that describes how pursuit of a highly unlikeable goal such as winning an Olympic gold medal or professional sports championship often leads to much disappointment later in life once such a goal is even actually achieved.
    Not the case for all but many.
    Mastery in one example given means that we are always practicing, just practice for the sake of practice itself, no matter how well our skills are developed.
    Masters of their ‘game’ no matter what that applied to in life are always trying to discover new ways to improve.
    Thus better to be an ongoing practicer of mastery in life than someone who has sights set on a singular goal.
    Recommend it as is a great read I did some 20 yrs or so ago.
    Am always still practicing here and loving it.

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