Athletes struggle after high of Commonwealth Games as they get back to day-to-day routine

Just one month ago, Australia's Commonwealth Games athletes were being lauded as heroes, but now most have returned to relative anonymity and some have found it difficult to re-adjust.

Gold Coast distance swimmer Kiah Melverton won a bronze medal in the women's 800 metres freestyle behind teammate and rising superstar Ariarne Titmus.

Melverton said her Games experience had been incredible.

"You come out of the Village environment and everyone kind of knows who you are," the 21-year-old said.

"[Then] you're back to uni, you're back in the pool plodding up and down for hours a day.

"I think most athletes do experience a low after something like that."

Over in the blink of an eye

Melverton said her training partner, David Morgan, has had a similar experience after living in the Commonwealth Games bubble.

"It feels a very long time ago now," he said.

"When you're there in the Village everything is a blur."

The 24-year-old won a silver medal behind South African superstar Chad le Clos in the men's 200 metres butterfly final.

"It happens very quickly and then when you finish, it's like, gone in the blink of an eye," he said.

Morgan's fellow squad member, Laura Taylor, won a silver medal in the women's 200 metres butterfly final.

The 18-year-old, who is studying sports science at Bond University, said her post-Games experience had been different from that of most other athletes.

"I came out of the Village on the 16th [of April] and flew over to Perth that morning and I did the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships," she said.

Taylor won three gold medals during three days of surf competition.

"Then I headed back to Sydney for the Australian Age [Swimming Championships]."

There were 474 athletes selected in the Australian team that finished on top of the medal tally with 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze medals.

Games slump to be expected

Sports psychologist Clive Jones said it was common for athletes to experience a slump after such a high.

"It's a little bit like the downer after a school camp. The intensity and emotion is high," he said.

"It's particularly true of a home Games as well because of the intensity of the enthusiasm from the crowds. It was particularly exciting for athletes."

Dr Jones said it was important that athletes refocused their goals and looked ahead to their next competition.

"Athletes have got to keep the broader goal, the bigger picture. It's an event that's exciting, but it's always just moving onto the next thing," he said.

The problem can become serious when athletes cannot pick themselves up and move on.

"There's got to be a life that the athlete goes to afterwards that they actually value and appreciate," he said.

"If they're having a lot of difficulty coming back down to Earth, if their particular place is not that nice or comfortable, if they're that down about it … it suggests there might be some other issues they need to work on."

Athletes have no regrets

Although readjusting to life after the Games has been difficult for many athletes, Morgan said he would do it all again.

"It definitely was an incredible experience to have on your home soil," he said.

"There are about 10,000 people in the stands cheering you, and it's definitely one experience I would like to have again."

For information about financial planning for athletes in Sydney and Brisbane, please visit our Whole Wealth Athletes Page.

This article was published and provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


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