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Swimmer Trickett says helping people more important than medals

posted 20 Jul 2012, 08:23 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 20 Jul 2012, 08:24 ]

Australian swimmers Libby Trickett and Stephanie Rice are making their comebacks from retirement at the London Olympics after battling against depression and injury.

MANCHESTER, UK (JULY 20, 2012) (REUTERS) - 
Australian gold winning women swimmers Libby Trickett and Stephanie Rice on Friday (July 20) took time out of their pre-Olympic training to talk about their ambitions for the London games after coming out of retirement to compete in London.
Rice, a triple gold medallist in Beijing, remains a potent force in the medleys while Trickett returns after suffering from depression which almost robbed her of the will to live.


Trickett won gold in the 100 metres butterfly in Beijing in 2008, where she also took silver in the 100 metres freestyle and bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay. In Athens in 2004 she was in the gold medal winning 4x100 metres relay team.


Tricket spoke candidly to reuters TV about her depression, saying: "I did not want to get out of bed some days, you don't really enjoy anything really, you don't really see the point in doing anything because you lack any sort of drive or joy or lightness, it just all felt very dark and heavy.


"It is something I am very open about because it is something my family have been through a lot in terms of mental illness and lots of anxiety and things like that so I know what it's like to go through things like that personally and also seeing it in other people. There is such a taboo about depression and mental illnesses and I would like to break that down."


Now she says she wants to help other sufferers.

"If I can help someone open up about their experiences because maybe they feel they can't talk to anyone else because they think nobody else will understand. I think that's probably the best thing I could bring out of this sport, I have had wonderful things happen, I have met my husband and won Gold medals, and travelled all around the world but if I can help people with their journey and support people through things that they're going through then I think that's the greatest thing that I could ever do."


In Beijing, Rice won gold in the 400 metres individual medley, the 200 metres individual medley and the 4x200 freestyle relay.


"It has been very emotional but I really wanted to get to these games because I did not want to be the one hit pony that comes out and does well one time. I know I have done well at World Championships and Commonwealth games but to back up twice in the Olympics, not many people do, especially in swimming as it's a long time to be injured during that training, so for me that was a goal in itself to get to these games and I just sort of want to do the best that I can."


Stephanie Rice has been battling injury and has suffered four largely frustrating years since she lit up the Olympic pool in Beijing.


The 24-year-old, who won two individual and one relay gold all in world record times at Beijing's Water Cube four years ago, was laden with similarly low expectations before Australia's national swimming trials in March.


The Brisbane-born swimmer came into the Adelaide meeting nursing the nagging shoulder injury and dealing with a rare crisis of confidence about her ability to defend her Olympic 200 and 400 individual medley (IM) titles in London.


Within four days of competition, however, Rice had booked both berths in London, obliterating competitive fields in each event to head to the Games with a big shot of confidence.


"It has been really hard, I can't take it any other way, it has been very emotional but I really wanted to get to these games because I did not want to be the one hit pony that comes out and does well one time. I know I have done well at World Championships and Commonwealth games but to back up twice in the Olympics, not many people do, especially in swimming as it's a long time to be injured during that training, so for me that was a goal in itself to get to these games and I just sort of want to do the best that I can," she said.

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