“Please Stop Interviewing Athletes”- USA’s Swimmer Simone Manuel Bashes Media for Immediate Interviews

Published 08/06/2021, 6:45 AM EDT
Jun 19, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Simone Manuel prepares to swim in Women’s 50m Freestyle during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Swimming competition at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports


After Simone Biles withdrew from the team artistic gymnastics event at Tokyo Olympics, many athletes have stepped up in favor of her cause. The importance of good mental health is important as athletes are opening up about their anxiety issues. In a recent Twitter post, American swimmer Simone Manuel tweeted about interviews that happen after an event and the need to stop that process.

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Manuel won the bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a fantastic race at Tokyo Olympics 2020. However, the swimmer focused on the problems athletes have in expressing themselves in a post-match interview.

Jun 20, 2021; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Simone Manuel (left) and Abbey Weitzeil (right) react after the women’s 50m freestyle final during the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Swimming competition at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Simone Manuel wants post-match interviews to be scrapped

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Olympians face immense pressure from their countries to perform well in the Olympics. Hence, mental health and anxiety issues come to the fore. Manuel spoke about the importance of this decision in a Tweet. She wrote, “Please stop interviewing athletes right after a disappointing performance before they have any time to process anything. Trust me. They gave it their all. Nothing else people need to know at that time.”

She focused on this because many athletes don’t get enough time to introspect themselves after a disjointed performance. Despite her concerns, that is unlikely to change because of the importance of media coverage amongst the athletes. Most of the sponsors pay a lump sum amount of money to market their brand around the world. Without them, the tournament may not be possible.

From a business point of view, interviews make sense. Fans may not be able to watch these events live, thus interviews are important to get in-depth knowledge about the situation. But from a psychological point of view, it may not be prudent.

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Biles’ withdrawal at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Simone Biles’ withdrawal came as a surprise for many people, considering the success she had in Rio 2016. Earlier in the French Open, Naomi Osaka withdrew because of mental health issues. Later, Biles returned and won a bronze medal, which was an incredible achievement considering the problems she faced.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Beam – Medal Ceremony – Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – August 3, 2021. Gold medallist Guan Chenchen of China, silver medallist Tang Xijing of China and bronze medallist Simone Biles of the United States pose with medals. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

The concerns from Manuel are noticeable due to the impact of the issue on people’s lives. Despite them looking unfazed by all the pressure, mental blocks and anxiety can thwart the most decorated athletes. Similarly, Michael Phelps opened up about his mental struggles during the games. To imagine a guy like Phelps having anxiety issues shows the seriousness of the problem.

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Jacob Gijy

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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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