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While the Olympic and Paralympic buzz intensifies considerably as the Games draw closer, it’s likely that the Games will have been on athletes’ minds every day since they arrived back from Rio in 2016, or, for those for whom this is a debut Games, even longer.

On returning from Tokyo, there will be the usual rounds of interviews, appearances and other opportunities for athletes to take advantage of, but once that inevitably dies down, how do you deal with the Games being over, and the need to have to reset and reassess your targets, your career, and in some cases, your life?

The BAC’s Athlete Engagement Manager, Kristian Thomas, competed in London and Rio, and gives his thoughts on this subject here.

“The immediate aftermath of an Olympic or Paralympic Games is like nothing else. It’s probably the only time in your sporting career where you are able to step away from sport both mentally and physically, relax, and make other, non-sport based things the main focus in your life.

“There is also the added public interest, and naturally, opportunities will come along which you are able to explore and learn from.

“Although this year will be different, athletes returning from Tokyo can still expect an enjoyable whirlwind of activity.

“However, regardless of your level of profile, or how successful you were at the Games, there will always be a point where this begins to tail off, and the media and public start to focus on other things.

“I found it is important to not just jump at everything that gets thrown your direction, but to explore the opportunities that mean more to you, fit with your next steps, or can be used as a development opportunity.

“Due to the pandemic, this time around many athletes will have a more condensed calendar of competition after the Games, some will have a home Commonwealth Games to focus on next year, and everyone will be aware that the usual four-year gap wait until the next Games is only three years ahead of Paris.

“I would still advise to make sure you plan out some downtime after the Games. Whether you use that time to get away, explore opportunities, spend time with family and friends, or just reflect on what has been an unprecedented 18 months. This period is vital for recovery, and will certainly be a welcomed break for your body and mind.

“As ever, the BAC will be here to provide support for its members. If you find yourself struggling post-Games, you can access independent, confidential and expert support via support@britishathletes.org.

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