By Mari Saito
TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. skateboard star Nyjah Huston nursed his bruising Sunday loss in the inaugural men's street event at the Tokyo Olympics, apologising to his supporters and extolling the importance of athletes taking care of their mental health after competitions.
"I've had a lot of high moments in my career over the years but I've also had some very low ones and it's something I've always mentally battled and tried to be better at," the 26-year old California skater told his 4.8 million fans on Instagram.
Huston, ranked no. 1 in the world in men's street skating, came seventh in Sunday's event in a major upset after he failed to land any of his last four tricks. Fellow American Jagger Eaton won bronze at the event, held in scorching https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/skateboarding-skaters-battle-under-brutal-tokyo-heat-inaugural-games-2021-07-25 temperatures, while Japan's Yuto Horigome made history by winning the first gold medal https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/skateboarding-horigome-wins-first-olympic-gold-skateboarding-2021-07-25 of skateboarding at the Olympics.
Admitting that in the past he had at times isolated himself or turned to "chugging" alcohol after disappointing competitions hoping to make things better, Huston told his Instagram followers that above all else, mental health was the most important.
The mental wellbeing of athletes have been in the spotlight after tennis champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open in June to focus on her mental health. Osaka's decision was initially met with hostility by organisers, but eventually won widespread support https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/fellow-athletes-rally-around-osaka-after-french-open-withdrawal-2021-06-01 from athletes and fans alike.
"Because when it comes down to it ... I don't skate to be the best, or to be famous, or make money, or be an Olympian," he wrote, expressing his love for skateboarding. "It's the funnest thing on Earth."
(Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)