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Stephanie Rice reveals the truth about her tearful Tokyo Games breakdown

Three-time Olympic champion Stephanie Rice has opened up about her tearful social media posts following the Tokyo Games.

In September, the 33-year-old broke down on Instagram while discussing the mental health issues she experienced after her professional swimming career wound down.

During interview on Mark Howard’s podcast The Howie Games this week, Steph admitted that it was struggle to find her purpose after she finished swimming.

Brave: Three-time Olympic champion Stephanie Rice has opened up about her tearful social media posts following the Tokyo Games

‘People would ask me if I was still swimming and I would say no,’ she said, according to news.com.au.

‘The next question was, “What do you do now?” and I couldn’t answer it,’ she continued.

‘I just felt like I was lying the whole the time, saying wishy-washy things like “I still do a bit of speaking, I do some brand ambassador work and a little bit of coaching.” Those things would literally take up five days of my year.

‘It just felt like there was a reputation to uphold and my identity is that I’m a successful driven person, so to not feel like I identify with that publicly just felt wrong.’

The former athlete said that she had to work hard on herself to discover who she really was away from swimming.

‘I know that now and I’ve done that work, re-identified that person and so therefore I don’t really relate to who I was as a swimmer any more,’ she explained.

‘I’m completely different and I really felt like I had to detach from that person in order to move on.’

Broken: In September, the 33-year-old broke down on Instagram while discussing the mental health issues she experienced after her professional swimming career wound down

Broken: In September, the 33-year-old broke down on Instagram while discussing the mental health issues she experienced after her professional swimming career wound down

Back in September, Stephanie revealed her battle with mental health after retiring from swimming back in 2014. 

She shared a short video of herself wiping away tears from her eyes as she confessed she ‘felt lost, depressed [and] irrelevant’ after leaving swimming. 

‘I tossed around with posting this for a month or so because its important for me to try and articulate the raw emotions of this in the truest form,’ she began.

‘Watching the Olympics will always probably be tough emotionally for me, because it brings back so many strong emotions, both good and bad.’

Tears: 'Watching the Olympics will always probably be tough emotionally for me, because it brings back so many strong emotions, both good and bad.

Tears: ‘Watching the Olympics will always probably be tough emotionally for me, because it brings back so many strong emotions, both good and bad. 

Stephanie said that many elite athletes suffer from mental health issues, particularly after they ‘transition’ into retirement. 

‘Many athletes and high performers speak about the challenges they face with mental health around transition,’ she continued. 

‘For me, transitioning was f**king hard… and still is at times. After swimming, I felt lost, depressed, irrelevant and as though I had achieved the pinnacle of my life at 24 and everything moving forward would be far less exciting and special.

‘So in order for me to move on, I had to completely let go of the person I was as an athlete and rediscover myself without the title of being ‘a swimmer’. 

Speaking out: Stephanie said that many elite athletes suffer from mental health issues, particularly after they 'transition' into retirement

Speaking out: Stephanie said that many elite athletes suffer from mental health issues, particularly after they ‘transition’ into retirement

‘This bought up loads of deep-seated insecurities that I was able to hide by the validation and recognition I got by being a Gold Medallist.’

But Stephanie added that she’s in a much better headspace now after doing lots of ‘work’ on herself. 

‘Honestly, now, after doing so much “work” on myself, I truly am so, so happy and content. I love my life and the people in it,’ she added. 

'This bought up loads of deep-seated insecurities that I was able to hide by the validation and recognition I got by being a Gold Medallist,' she said of retirement. Pictured at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008

‘This bought up loads of deep-seated insecurities that I was able to hide by the validation and recognition I got by being a Gold Medallist,’ she said of retirement. Pictured at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008

‘But watching the Olympics reminds me of the person I was back then and it’s still hard not to feel sadness that that part of me is gone and isn’t coming back… and that’s what the tears are for.’

Stephanie announced her retirement from swimming back in April 2014, after undergoing three career-ending shoulder surgeries.

‘I definitely feel like I’m losing a part of myself but I’m really excited about what’s to come,’ she said at the time, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.  

'After swimming, I felt lost, depressed, irrelevant and as though I had achieved the pinnacle of my life at 24 and everything moving forward would be far less exciting and special,' she wrote. Pictured during a training session at the London Olympics in July 2012

‘After swimming, I felt lost, depressed, irrelevant and as though I had achieved the pinnacle of my life at 24 and everything moving forward would be far less exciting and special,’ she wrote. Pictured during a training session at the London Olympics in July 2012


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