Team GB swimmer Adam Peaty has slammed the reaction to the announcement that he will spend a month away from the pool in a bid to look after his mental health.
Peaty, who won two gold medals and a silver at Tokyo 2020, was part of Team GB’s record-breaking team that sealed eight swimming medals, beating the previous best of seven set in 1908.
But despite all his success, people were still quick to hit out at the swimmer for taking a break, something which Peaty feels contributes to mental health struggles.
‘Reading some of the comments in response to this is why we have such a stigma around mental wellbeing in sport. It isn’t a normal job. There is a huge amount of pressure. Money does not buy happiness,’ Peaty said.
‘I’m taking a break because I’ve been going extremely hard for as long as I can remember. I’ve averaged two weeks off a year for the last seven years. Unfortunately there are people out there who think they know you more than you know yourself,’ he added.
Peaty claimed the 100m breaststroke title for the second successive Games in the Japanese capital, as well as a gold in the mixed 4x100m mixed medley relay and silver in the men’s equivalent in the final race of the swimming programme.
When asked what he’d be doing next, Peaty said: ‘It’s been hard for everyone, for every sport out there, it’s been very, very tiring.
‘But I think (what’s next is) celebrating and having what my coach Mel Marshall and me call a forced rest where we’re not allowed to touch the water for a month now.
‘It’s going to be a war of attrition over the next three years, we have three major championships next season, and you’ll see people who are falling off, going all the way through ISL and World Cups, by the time they get to Paris.
‘You’re seeing it in all sports now. You’re seeing it with Simone Biles, you’re seeing it with Ben Stokes, mental health matters. It is about getting the balance right at that elite level. We love to celebrate, why shouldn’t we?’
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