The film premieres on Wednesday, July 29 on HBO, and features star athletes like Michael Phelps and Shaun White speaking to their mental health battles following the Olympics

By Rachel DeSantis
July 20, 2020 02:47 PM
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Some of the most famous faces in sports are shining a light on the dark side of the Olympic Games and the subsequent mental health struggles that often accompany competition in a new HBO documentary.

A trailer for The Weight of Gold premiered Monday and featured snippets from interviews with star athletes like Michael Phelps, Shaun White, Apolo Ohno, Bode Miller and Lolo Jones — all of whom spoke to the mental health battles they faced once they no longer had their sport to pour their focus into.

“We’re just so lost. A good 80 percent, maybe more, go through some kind of post-Olympic depression," said Phelps, who also serves as the film’s narrator and one of its executive producers. “I thought of myself as just a swimmer and not a human being. That’s when I was like, ‘Why don’t I just end it all?’ ”

Though Phelps has been outspoken about his depression and mental health recovery in the past, other athletes shared similar struggles, like Olympic hurdler and bobsledder Jones.

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“I’m giving my blood, sweat, and tears, and all I’m asking is that someone can help me get through this,” she said in the trailer.

The trailer included home video clips from the athlete’s childhoods, as well as photos and video from their most glorious moments in their respective sports, interspersed with voiceovers that spoke to the “dramatic emptiness” many felt afterward.

In addition to the athletes previously mentioned, the film includes input from figure skater Sasha Cohen, skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender, the late bobsledder Steve Holcomb (who died in 2017), freestyle skier Jeremy Bloom, figure skater Gracie Gold, snowboarder Jonathan Cheever, diver David Boudia and the late skier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson via his mother, Linda. Peterson died by suicide in 2011.

The Weight of Gold’s trailer description said its goal is to shine light on the mental health struggles faced by athletes — as well as the difficulties many encounter in finding support and resources — and spark a discussion.

The film, directed by Brett Rapkin, premieres on Wednesday, July 29 on HBO.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.