Opals star Liz Cambage has shared stunning details about the extent of her mental health battle after her shock withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics last month.
The Aussie WNBA All-Star revealed how she had struggled with her mental health before the Opals' Olympics campaign, and how those problems were exacerbated as she felt under pressure to perform amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It wasn't easy, but, how am I meant to go to the hardest... you know it's the peak. The Olympics is Everest for every athlete," she said on HBO's The Shop: Uninterrupted.
"It was about to be my third, it was meant to be the one. Like, every Olympics is the one, 'Australia's gonna get a gold medal'. And I'm like, 'I'm broken, guys'.
"I'm halfway through a WNBA season, I've been dealing with health issues, I've been having panic attacks and vomiting during WNBA games.
"My stress has been on a totally different level this year.
"I really struggled with COVID last year. I was on pain killers, I'm on the Xanax again, and it's like, 'For what?'
"Like, I can't break myself.
"End of 2016, I ended up on suicide watch after the Rio Olympics."
It was a huge blow to the Opals when Cambage pulled out of the Games, and the circumstances in which the decision was made added to the controversy.
On the same day Basketball Australia had announced Cambage was at the centre of an investigation into an incident during a closed warm-up match against Nigeria in Las Vegas.
On the HBO program, Cambage was interviewed in a casual discussion alongside NBA star Carmelo Anthony, comedian Keegan-Michael Key, rapper Jack Harlow and actor Jason Sudeikis, where the others also opened up about their mental health struggles.
Cambage said a major source of additional stress during Olympics years was competing in the WNBA as well.
She said if she gets another opportunity to compete for the Opals at an Olympics, she would do things differently.
"If I go for another Olympic Games there's no way I can be a part of the WNBA," she said.
"There's no way I can play with a team for half a season."
Cambage is now back in the States and with her WNBA team, the Las Vegas Aces.
Cambage is a three-time WNBA All-Star and averaged 14.6 points per game and 8.9 rebounds in 19 games this season.
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