Delegate Name: Alexander Stillman
The Olympic Games have been the highest level of competition in sports since 1896, and continue to be great spectacles of the amazing feats that a person can accomplish when they dedicate themselves entirely to their practice. Unfortunately, the elite-level competition of the Olympics has resulted in some major physical and mental tolls on the health of these athletes. Many athletes have reported severe cases of depression, sometimes becoming so severe that it has inhibited the performance of these athletes, sometimes even preventing an athlete from competing, such as the case of Simone Biles during the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Athletes also can experience mental health challenges when retiring from their sports, as they may feel that they only matter for their accomplishments in the sports that they competed in. The IOC has acknowledged the mental health issues that these athletes face, and as a result have created a Mental Health Working Group to explore possible tools to recognize athletes that risk experiencing mental health symptoms and disorders.
Many of these athletes begin training at an extremely young age, making them susceptible to harassment and abuse by coaches and trainers. This abuse can be in the form of, but not limited to: being overstrained, having their diets restricted, or even physical or sexual abuse such as that in the case of Larry Nassar. The IOC recognizes that to compete on an international level requires extensive training and hard work, but desires to also make sure this major part of these athletes’ careers are in a safe environment. The IOC understands that it is necessary to protect the wellbeing of these athletes, but should also strive to be a partner and a tool for these athletes to assist them in their mental and physical health issues beyond the sixteen days of the quadrennial Olympic Games, as some nations like Guatemala do not have the financial resources to provide this support.
“Topic: Wellbeing of Olympic Athletes.” GLICA.org, GLICA, 1 Jan. 2023, https://glica.org/glica-conferences/simun-2023-conference/simun-2023-committees/wellbeing-of-olympic-athletes/.