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Local gymnast talks mental health and competing

The pressure is on when it's a fight for the win - News 11's Arlette Yousif reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Athletes prepare year-round to be the best at their respective sport, but it's not all fun and games. Pressure is all around from coaches, teammates, fans, and even the athlete themselves. Just as Simone Biles shared her vulnerability with the world about her struggles with mental health, many other competitors are just as susceptible.

One local gymnast says there's a lot to think about while competing.

"80% of gymnastics is mentally, and you have to think of what you're doing; like how you're gonna land, and all this. And so, you just have to prepare yourself, especially like competitions for that, and coaches do help you," says Yuma Flares Gymnast Fatima Carlos.

Carlos has been a gymnast for four years now. She says she began with tumbling, then found she was more interested in gymnastics and made the switch.

"What I do is just, you know, help myself mentally. Prepare myself mentally, like, what am I gonna expect in this and I just try my best not to get nervous at competition ‘cause that also affects me," explains Carlos.

But there’s more to it than that.

"You may also feel very pressured ‘cause you’re honestly competing against your teammates, but I just don’t really think about it, you know, the best way to do [it] is just not think about its," says Carlos.

A 10-year gymnast and over 30-year coach says it’s tougher than people think, especially when an athlete is not in a good headspace.

"And when you get to a level where Simone is, it’s— makes sense for her to step out. It was the best thing she could have done. Injuries are bound to happen because you literally have no control over it," explains Gymnastics World of Yuma Owner and Coach Teralene Blanner.

Although Biles is not competing, she continues to cheer on her teammates from the sidelines.

Health / Local News / Yuma County
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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

You can reach out to Arlette for at arlette.yousif@kecytv.com.

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