Australian and WNBA star Liz Cambage withdraws from Olympics, citing mental health
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has announced that women’s basketball player Liz Cambage — a star player on the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces — has withdrawn from the Australian Olympic Team and will not compete in Tokyo.
Cambage, a 2021 WNBA All-Star, is averaging 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Aces this season.
“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,” Cambage said in posts on Instagram and Twitter.
“No family. No friends. No fans. No support system outside of my team. It’s honestly terrifying for me. The past month I’ve 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.”
READ: Basketball star Liz Cambage criticizes lack of diversity in Australian Olympic team’s promotional photos
Prior to the announcement of Cambage’s withdrawal, an AOC spokesman had told CNN that it was aware of a potential incident involving Cambage and were awaiting a report from Basketball Australia, but the organization provided no further details.
CNN has reached out to Basketball Australia for more information but has not heard back. The Australian team is in Las Vegas preparing for the Olympics and is scheduled to play the USA later on Friday in an exhibition game.
Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman had said in an earlier press conference: “We’ve been informed by Basketball Australia that they’re investigating an issue. We have not received any further reporting except for that.”
The AOC says it will explore the potential for a late replacement for Cambage for the Opals Team.
“Liz has made a great contribution to the Australian Olympic Team over two Olympic Games campaigns. We respect her decision and wish her the best in returning to full health,” Chesterman said.
In May, Cambage threatened to boycott the Tokyo Olympics while speaking out against the lack of racial diversity in promotional photos of the Australian Olympic team.
The Olympics are scheduled to get underway on July 23 and run until August 8.