Olympics-Athletes head home in triumph and in tears

Reuters—August 23, 2008

After years of preparation, athletes are heading home from the Beijing Olympics to resume jobs, studies, training, and a handful to cash in on new-found fame -- and many will struggle to adjust.

Reality can be a far cry from the dazzling opening ceremony on Aug. 8 when 10,500 athletes were hailed as the world's sporting elite, from competing in spectacular venues in and around Beijing and from living with the support network of thousands of their peers.

Post-Olympic blues, identity crises and eating disorders are all common after an Olympics, according to sports psychologists who have been playing a greater role in the leadup to the Games and also afterwards, with many nations offering counselling.

Jenny Susser, a clinical health psychologist specialising in sport at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, said the mental pressure on athletes was more widely recognised and sport psychology played a bigger role at each Olympics.

"Awareness of the emotions will help and getting the athletes to talk can be an easy way to help them out," she told Reuters.

Read the full story at reuters.com.

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