Sunday, 21 January 2018 - 17:06
"I didn't want to be in the sport anymore. I didn't want to be alive"- says world's greatest swimmer



The world's most successful swimmer Michael Phelps has revealed he considered suicide as he fought severe anxiety and depression after his success at the 2012 Olympics.

The 23-times Olympic gold medal winner said he wanted to talk openly about his depression to encourage others to seek the help he got.

Speaking at the Kennedy Forum mental health conference in Chicago, 32-year-old Phelps said: "After every Olympics I think I fell into a major state of depression."

Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 28 medals, said he remained in his room for four days without food or sleep after the 2012 London Games when he won four golds and two silvers.

He said: "I didn't want to be in the sport anymore. I didn't want to be alive. You do contemplate suicide."

The American sports star said he had battled depression and anxiety for the past 17 years.

"We're supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness," he said.

"We are seeking and reaching for help."

Phelps won his first gold medal in 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games and it was that year the 15-year-old from Baltimore experienced his first "depression spell".

He said it had led him to abuse drugs and alcohol and in 2008, after winning a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games, he was photographed smoking from a bong.

He has also been arrested twice for drink-driving.

Phelps said: "It would be just me self-medicating myself, basically daily, to try to fix whatever it was that I was trying to run from.”

Other Olympic heroes have also battled with mental health problems, including Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe, who broke 22 world records and wrote in his 2012 autobiography that as well as considering suicide, he also planned ways and places to do it.

Thorpe chose to "self-medicate" with alcohol to control his violent mood swings and negative thoughts going through his head.

Michael Phelps at The Kennedy Forum National Summit On Mental Health Equity And Justice In Chicago

Michael Phelps wins gold at his first Olympic Games in Athens in 2004

Make a Comment
Make a Comment