Team GB swimmer Adam Peaty has confirmed plans to take a month-long break from the sport in order to look after his mental health and prepare for more success in 2022.
The 26-year-old sucessfully defended his men’s 100m breaststroke title as he scooped two golds and a silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but has stressed the importance of striking a balance between work and play, highlighting the struggles of American gymnast Simone Biles and England cricketer Ben Stokes.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Peaty said: “It’s been hard for everyone, for every sport out there. It’s been very very tiring.
“I think what’s next is celebrating and having a forced rest, where we’re not allowed to touch the water for a month now.”
Peaty is eager to spend more time with partner Eirianedd and young son George-Anderson.
He continued: “The amount of time that has been taken away from me with my partner and my boy… I want to make that time up.
“I’m going to enjoy it, recover. I’m going to need all the energy I’ve got and all the downtime.”
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Peaty will miss the International Swimming League (ISL) competition which starts next month as he looks to recover from the 2020 Games both mentally and physically.
Predicting that the next three years between Tokyo and Paris 2024 would be a “war of attrition”, the swimmer added: “Mental health matters and it is about getting the balance right at that elite level.
“We’ve got three major championships next season, and you’ll see people who are falling off, who go all the way through ISL and World Cups, by the time they get to Paris.
“You’re seeing it in all sports now. You’re seeing it with Simone Biles. You’re seeing it with Ben Stokes.”
Peaty also issued a statement on his Twitter profile taking aim at those responding negatively to his decision.
“Reading some of the comments in response to this is why we have such a stigma around mental wellbeing in sport.
“Money does not buy happiness. Unfortunately there are people out there who think they know you more than you know yourself.”