Liz Cambage, one of women’s basketball’s biggest stars, is pulling out of the upcoming Olympics.
In a statement sent out early on July 16, Cambage cited her mental health and concerns about going into the Olympic bubble as reasons why declining to play for the Australian National Team. Specifically, she wrote that she has been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating for the past month.
Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals. Every athlete competing in the Olympic games should be at their mental and physical peak, and at the moment, I’m a long way from where I want and need to be. It’s no secret that in the past I’ve struggled with my mental health and recently I’ve been really worried about heading into a ‘bubble’ Olympics. No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me. The past month I have been having panic attacks, not sleeping and not eating.
Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not the place I want to be right now. Especially walking into competition on the world’s biggest sporting stage.
I know myself, and I know I can’t be the Liz everyone deserves to see compete for the Opals. Not right now at least. I need to take care of myself mentally and physically. It breaks my heart to announce I’m withdrawing from the Olympics, but I think it’s best for the Opals and myself. I wish them nothing but the best of luck in Tokyo and I hope they go forth and win a gold medal.
Cambage, who plays for the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA, was likely to be the lead option on an Australian team that also includes Leilani Mitchell and Ezi Magbegor, among others. It’s unclear at this time who will replace her on the roster. Olympic play begins on July 26.