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Michael Phelps to narrate and appear in HBO documentary exploring Olympians’ mental health

Michael Phelps to narrate and appear in HBO documentary exploring Olympians’ mental health
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BALTIMORE—Michael Phelps will narrate and serve as the subject of a new documentary on the mental health challenges faced by Olympic athletes, set to debut on HBO at the end of July.

The documentary, titled “The Weight of Gold,” will feature other high-profile Olympians such as Lolo Jones, Bode Miller, Sasha Cohen and Shaun White.

“I believe I have experienced a state of depression after every Olympics I competed in,” said Phelps, the 28-time Olympic medallist from Rodgers Forge, Md., who’s also serving as an executive producer for the film. “For a long time, I only saw myself as a swimmer, not a person. When I walked off the podium in Rio, I knew many of my teammates and competitors were not aware of — or prepared for — the post-Olympic transition. In sharing our stories, it is my hope that we can encourage others to open up, let them know they are not alone and that it’s OK to not be OK. For me, the opportunity to help break the stigma surrounding mental health and potentially save a life is way more meaningful than any Olympic medal.”

Phelps, who retired after the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, has devoted much of his post-swimming career to telling his story of mental health struggles. He’s said those struggles have been acute during the coronavirus pandemic and has expressed concern for his fellow athletes, whose plans have been unsettled by the postponement of the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

“As we all cope during this time of anxiety, Michael Phelps and the Olympic athletes of this film are courageously leading a movement for greater mental health awareness, giving a vulnerable look into the emotional costs of exceptional athleticism,” Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports, said in a statement. “When Podium Pictures and Octagon brought us this project, we quickly recognized its power along with the relatability of its theme for so many.”
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