Olympic champion with Canada at the Tokyo Olympics last July, Stéphanie Labbé, 34, spoke about her mental health on the FIFPRO website, the international union of professional footballers.
The new goalkeeper of Paris-Saint-Germain shared her experience of the last Olympics where she suffered from panic attacks throughout the tournament.
She finished these Games emotionally and mentally exhausted.
The player begins her story by recalling the experience of Rio 2016. The feeling of accomplishment that the reward of her third place gave her.
“When I stepped on the podium to receive the bronze medal with Canada at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, I was bursting with pride;
all the anticipation and hard work had paid off and I couldn't wait to come home and share my success with as many people as possible.
"As if this piece of metal was worth more than me as a human being"
But pride and honor quickly gave way to a feeling of emptiness in the face of the absence of immediate competition, of new challenges.
“It was like this piece of metal was worth more than me as a human being, and I think I ended up in a spiral.
Thank you @FIFPRO for providing this platform to share my story.
I hope by continuing to talk and be vulnerable with my struggles more resources will be available to athletes (and everyone for that matter).
Reminder to be kind, and create safe spaces in all work environments❤️ https://t.co/2TSXuFT7oH
- Stephanie Labbé (@ stephlabbe1) September 23, 2021
Subsequently, she explains that she “learned to find a balance in my head between what I had accomplished and what I was worth, and I came to appreciate my medal again.
His recent Japanese adventure, a few years later, turned out to be much less easy to take.
The hell of the Tokyo Olympics
Stéphanie Labbé was injured during her first match in Tokyo.
After several examinations, it appeared that the act of playing would not lead to additional lesions but another pain appears and then torments her.
"Who would have thought that this injury would awaken an underlying vulnerability in my mental state?"
I got to the point where I couldn't train between the quarters and the final, I was so over-stimulated.
The former goalkeeper of Rosengard in Sweden, mounted on the top step of the podium, does not see her discomfort subsiding with the gain of the Olympic title.
“When the final whistle blew and we won the gold, I expected immense relief, but no, nothing… I spent the 48 hours after the final lying in a dark room.
The player is unable to deal with the thousands of congratulatory messages, media inquiries or the future impact that her team's success is going to have in her country.
It took him time and a necessary step back.
“It’s only now, after a hiatus and almost a month after the event, that I can collect the medal and feel proud of it.
Read alsoJO Tokyo: the mental health of athletes, a taboo lifted thanks to Simone Biles?
During the competition, the Canadian hit it off and made contact with Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka.
The two sportswomen are pioneers on the issue of athletic mental health.
The American gymnast had withdrawn from the team competition at the Olympics and the Japanese from Roland Garros.
They had made this decision in order to preserve themselves.