Michael Phelps credited Naomi Osaka with saving a human life; With much needed validation for her bold move in 2021

During earlier sports eras, it was difficult to talk about mental health. Few people realized it or accepted it. But that has now changed for good. Talking about mental health is no longer taboo. And some sports stars like Michael Phelps, Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles show the other side of the coin.

After withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon, Osaka created a new wave of confidence for athletes to come forward and speak for themselves. Biles followed the same path at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is why Michael Phelps, a prominent mental health advocate, offered his support to Osaka. He explained how it was a brave decision and that it probably “saved a life”.

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Having Michael Phelps’ shoulder to lean on

After experiencing depression, Phelps moved forward in his life and spoke at conferences about mental health issues. He points to his life experiences to create a change in society and help bring a difference in people’s lives. So knowing the crux of the problem, he mentioned how Osaka made a crucial decision that helped save her life.

ROME – JULY 28: Michael Phelps of the United States is dejected after finishing second in the men’s 200m freestyle final during the 13th FINA World Championships at Stadio del Nuoto on July 28, 2009 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

“Michael Phelps told me that if I spoke up, I might have saved a life. If that’s true, then it was all worth it.” he said Osaka, who was grateful for Phelps. Even a world-class athlete like Phelps is human and has emotions and feelings like ordinary people. He used to train 365 days a year to achieve his goal of becoming a true champion. He suffered from depression after each Olympic Games and had a series of unpleasant incidents that confused him.

But overcoming these struggles has made him a better person as he now influences people to open up about their feelings. It’s just a beautiful way to embrace life as it is and hopefully these sports figures will create a prosperous change in the lives of many more. Like Phelps and Osaka, Simone Biles is a significant influencer.

More than a gymnast

Simone Biles had the world at her feet on her way to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Winning medals became a habit and fans knew he would win more in Tokyo. However, Biles suffered from the so-called ‘twists’, an episode where a person loses space and awareness of dimensions while twisting in the air. She shocked the world with this decision and was praised by fans for her strong approach to mental health struggles.

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Taking a break from gymnastics to focus on the things that make her happy, Biles is looking forward to marrying her boyfriend and NFL star. Jonathan Owens.

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 27: Simone Biles of Team United States looks on during the women’s team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Center on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

As a normal person in society, it is difficult to create a change in how people perceive mental health. But athletes are role models. If they are performing to instigate a change in mentality, people will notice. Phelps, Osaka and Biles are masters of their sport, but they offer much more to society with their stance on mental health.

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