Australian women’s basketball star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from the Olympics due to mental health concerns regarding the Olympic “bubble.” In a statement posted on her social media accounts, the 29-year-old WNBA star opened up about her anxiety and mental health that she has needed medication to control.
“Anyone that knows me knows one of my biggest dreams is winning an Olympic gold medal with the Opals,” Cambage wrote. “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.”
It is a massive loss for an Australian team that was set to compete with the U.S. for gold in Tokyo. Cambage has also averaged 23.5 points in the qualifying rounds, which was the highest among all players. She also ranked second for rebounds with 10.3. The four-time WNBA All-Star has averaged 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Las Vegas Aces this season.
Her decision to withdraw comes shortly after reports she was involved in a physical and verbal altercation during a closed-door scrimmage against Nigeria in Las Vegas. She also broke team protocols to live it up in Sin City. The altercation put her on shaky ground with the Australian team. It was discussing if they were still going to allow Cambage to play in the Olympics with them prior to her pulling out of the event on her own, according to ESPN.
“I know myself, and I know I can’t be the Liz everyone deserves to see compete for the Opals,” she wrote. “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.”