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‘It’s Toxic’- Sydney McLaughlin Breaks Down in Tears Over Lack of Respect After Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 08/24/2021, 1:44 AM EDT

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The long-overdue conversation about the mental health of athletes is finally being taken up seriously and regularly. In a recent video, Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin opened up about her troubles with social media. Social media websites are fast becoming infamous for their links to increased anxiety and depression. Lack of regulation of comments online can expose athletes to greater abuse and Sydney opens up about being disrespected even by her teammates.

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Sydney McLaughlin opens up in an emotional Instagram post

The gold medalist in Japan spoke about the troubles she faced during the trials because of the bullying she received. McLaughlin posted a video stating the problems she faced.

“I am grateful for the platform. I am grateful to be able to reach people. But I don’t want it, like when I tell you I don’t want fame, I don’t want any of that. It’s toxic. It genuinely, physically make me sick. When I got back on social media, for three or four weeks before the trials, I started getting anxiety because you look and you’re looking at what everybody else is doing, what everybody else is posting, how many followers they have, and it physically makes you sick.”


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via Reuters

“I don’t want that, I don’t want the fame, I just want a little bit of respect,” said McLaughlin.

Despite being an Olympic champion, the athlete spoke about the difficulties she faced. The ability to stay detached from it is hard as McLaughlin opened up on Instagram on the way she dealt with the issue.

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Disrespected by teammates too?

Apart from the hate comments she received online, the American athlete opened up about her problems with some of her teammates getting onto the act as well.


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“It blows my mind. People who have been my teammates, who have watched me die every day at practice, believe that I’m standing here today because I have followers. I can’t control who presses the follower button, but I can control what I do on that track, and that’s the thing that doesn’t get respect and it blows my mind,” said McLaughlin.

via Reuters

After setting the world record time of 51.46 in Tokyo the American was on top of the world. But, as she stated in her caption, “even in success, there can be pain”, everything is far from rosy for the accomplished athlete.


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Athletes are faced with an incredible amount of abuse and adulation due to social media. Regulatory checks on social media in most cases tend to be futile. It raises the need for a much more holistic and measured approach towards a deepening issue.

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Written by:

Jacob Gijy


One take at a time

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.
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