CelebHomes – Your gold medal skating still brings me tears of joy. How do you recall that moment?
TLThe Olympic performance is definitely the best. That was a very surreal experience. It was surreal to see that I could go to the Olympics. I was already the reigning World Champion, but it was only a month prior to losing my title at Nationals. There was so much uncertainty for me and so much pressure for someone just 15, who didn’t really know what or how to prepare for my first Olympics. That’s what every skater wants to do. To skate as I did. It was the first time that my legs had ever shaken since they called me my name. It was then that I realized, “Oh, I need them!” They are essential! To be able then to skate in the manner that I did, however, I will always recall not only winning but also the feeling of relief when the music stopped and I ran across the ice. It was the thrill of being able to do well, have a great showing, and to do so in front of millions at the Olympic Games.
CelebHomes – You were only 15 years old when you participated in the Olympics. There was so much pressure. What are the best ways athletes can protect their mental health during competition?
TL: That’s my opinion. Simone Biles brought to light. Many athletes didn’t realize they had the option, particularly when I was competing. Simone accomplished that and this is what I hope for the future. It is hoped that athletes will have the courage to voice their opinion and make their point to ensure that their views are heard. If they are under too much pressure, or have too many expectations of them, it is time to make healthy choices about their mental well-being. This is something that you and your teammates need to understand. Your team is the one that knows you best. It should have a conversation about how you check in with athletes, not just to see how they are performing physically or recovering from injuries but also how mental and emotional it can be.