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Liz Cambage Won’t Play in Tokyo Olympics, Citing Mental Health – The New York Times

Posted: July 19, 2021 at 1:49 am

After announcing that she would skip the Tokyo Olympics to protect her mental health, the Australian basketball star Liz Cambage said that she had been at a breaking point for a month over the prospect of entering a Covid bubble and playing in an empty arena at the Games.

In a series of videos posted to Instagram on Friday, Cambage said that once she made the decision to withdraw from Australias womens basketball team, I felt a world of anxiety and pressure and heaviness I had been carrying lift straight off me.

I had been having breakdowns in the car park at Whole Foods, nonstop panic attacks, hyperventilating at the thought of going into one of the most pressure situations, which is already in a bubble, with no fans, no friends, Cambage said.

Cambage, 29, who also plays for the W.N.B.A.s Las Vegas Aces, shot the videos from her hotel room in Las Vegas, where the Australian team has been practicing. The team will travel later this month to Tokyo, where the Olympics are scheduled to begin on Friday despite rising infections in the city and among people involved in the Games.

This Olympics aint gonna be easy, and its gonna be survival of the fittest, and there aint no point dragging someone over there thats already feeling mentally weak, she said in a video.

Cambages departure is a blow to the Australian teams medal hopes. She was Australias leading scorer at the 2016 Games, when the team made the quarterfinals. She also holds the W.N.B.A.s single-game scoring record, with 53 points.

The head of the Australian Olympic delegation, Ian Chesterman, said in a statement: We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health.

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Liz Cambage Won't Play in Tokyo Olympics, Citing Mental Health - The New York Times

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