In a heartbreaking video, Steph Rice describes herself as "lost, depressed, and irrelevant".
Stephanie Rice's love-hate connection with the Olympics has galvanized the Australian athletic community.
When the 33-year-old decided to publish a video of herself in tears during Tokyo 2020, she posted a heartbreaking message on Instagram.
When Rice decided to release the video, she deliberated for about a month to "attempt and convey the raw emotions... in their truest form," she added.
As the clip finished with a smile, Rice's tears and the caption did all the talking.
This will probably always be difficult for me to watch the Olympics because it brings up so many powerful memories, both good and horrible," Rice stated.
Mental health is a concern for many athletes and top performers throughout transition.
'For me, transitioning was f***ing hard... and it still is, at times. At 24, I felt like I had reached my life's apex and everything else was going to be less thrilling and remarkable. "I felt lost, dejected, and unimportant after swimming. It was necessary for me to let go of my athlete persona and rediscover myself without the title of'swimmer' in order to move on. "Honestly, now, after doing so much 'work' on myself, I am actually happy and pleased," she says. Love my life and all the people in it." It's still hard not to feel sad knowing that part of me is gone and won't be coming back... which is why I cry when I watch the Olympics."
Having re-watched the video and decided to share it with her 119,000 Instagram followers, Rice claimed she began crying again as she typed out her feelings.
When the Tokyo Olympics swimming program aired on Channel 7's Sunrise, Rice was included as an expert analyst.
When she was just a teenager, the Queenslander burst onto the scene, capturing two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006.
It was Rice's third gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 after he had broken three new world records and won three gold medals.
The 24-year-old Rice would go on to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, where she would compete for the final time after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Australia's athletes have their say
A number of Australian athletes from different sports and generations were moved by her message and experience.
It has always fascinated me how God made us all unique and different. "Our fingerprints are irrefutable proof that we are all individuals with our own distinct identities," stated cricket legend Matthew Hayden.
In the pool, Steph's dedication and passion to win at the sport were evident, but this piece, and many more to come, I imagine have the capacity to transform others, making you a champion of life. "Thank you for your help. " Please accept my best wishes and positive energies as you continue to lead us all in mental fitness.
Winter Olympian and gold medalist in Vancouver 2010, Lydia Lassila, commented "as humans we're not simply one thing".
Our lives will allow us to become many various types of people, and each one will be unique but equally gratifying," Lassila stated.
The skills you've acquired as an Olympic swimmer are among the best in the world. All of these abilities and attributes carry over and are incredibly useful. You're the best, xx"
“I agree with you that we're each unique,” Rice said. “I've liked uncovering new aspects of myself in my life away from sports. And I appreciate how supportive we all are of each other in trying to comprehend the emotions involved. "Thank you, then.
When asked about her decision to retire before the original Tokyo 2020 dates, London 2012 gold medalist Sally Pearson said: "It's so hard!!"
Diver Melissa Wu, cricket legend Michael Clarke, Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne, and footballers Tim Cahill, Al Kennedy, and Lydia Williams were among those who weighed in on Rice's article.