Toledo Olympian weighs in on mental pressures from Olympic games

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – As Olympic pressure continues for our athletes both domestically and internationally, a former Toledo gold medalist shares his journey on the sacrifices and mental strength it takes to face this opportunity again and again.

2x Olympic high jumper Erik Kynard says in dangerous sports like high jump and gymnastics that your mental health is the most important thing you need to keep yourself safe from injury.

For Kynard, meditation, prayer and working with sports psychologists have helped maintain his mental strength between ups and downs since the beginning of his career.

He says Biles handled and supported the Olympics “perfectly” by saying that everyone will have something to say, but the athlete is ultimately the only one who really knows his body and what is right for him.

Kynard tore his Achilles tendon, traditionally known as the kiss of death for an athlete, in a national competition in 2018 and had to fight his way to recovery to win a national championship in 2020.

“Even if you are an athlete, Simone Biles is still Simone mentally, she could probably still win gold medals and perform, but because of her being in a place where she competes at the level of her own expectations mentally State or mental state, I was there, I had to withdraw from the competition after the Olympic tests, “says Kynard,” so this is a new room, a new room mentally, physically, emotionally, that’s sometimes the best. “

Kynard shares that as athletes get older, they put additional pressure on themselves, with much higher expectations and awareness, but says the key is to understand that the athlete is ultimately in control, not the fans.

“In the high jump you fail all the time, no matter how high you jump, you make 3 attempts and you miss and you are done the failure when you have to be the failure,” says Kynard.

In addition to the already high stakes, says Kynard, shutting down the pandemic was extremely difficult for athletes this time around. Between the closure and the lack of crowd in the arena, he says, this year’s Olympians are facing variables even more overwhelming than ever. In dangerous sports like high jump and gymnastics you have to be mentally up to date to avoid injuries.

“You have to be mentally connected, there can’t be a separation between focus because when you play at such a high level you go on autopilot, there is no attempt to do anything, you either go out and do it or it is is not done, ”says Kynard.

Copyright 2021 WTVG. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.