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The 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo brought a new focus on mental health in the world of sports, with Simone Biles leading the charge by speaking openly about the challenges that athletes face. American fencer Elizabeth Tartakovsky, who will be making her Olympic debut in Paris this summer, also emphasized the importance of discussing mental health. Tartakovsky, who comes from a family of fencing royalty, noted the pressures and expectations that come with the sport, highlighting the need for resilience and mental preparedness. She acknowledged the value of working with a sports psychologist to manage the emotional and mental aspects of competing in a high-pressure environment like fencing.

Having achieved success at a young age, Tartakovsky understands the competitive nature of her sport and the need to be mentally strong in order to perform well under stress. She emphasized the importance of having patience, learning from losses, and staying resilient in the face of challenges. Despite her goals of winning gold in the upcoming Olympics, Tartakovsky does not want her experience to be solely defined by the outcome. She recognizes the unpredictable nature of sports and the importance of mental dominance on the day of competition.

As the 2022 NCAA Women’s Sabre national champion, Tartakovsky will be representing Team USA in Paris at the age of 24. She sees the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase her skills and mental fortitude, while also acknowledging the importance of the mental aspect in sports. Tartakovsky believes that visibility and openness about mental health in sports have been beneficial for athletes, as it has allowed her to go on a personal journey of self-discovery and growth. She is grateful for the support and resources that have helped her navigate the challenges of elite-level competition.

Tartakovsky’s upbringing in a family deeply involved in fencing has played a significant role in shaping her career as an athlete. She was inspired by her great uncle, Olympic fencing coach Yury Gelman, and his success in coaching the men’s Sabre team to a silver medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics. This exposure to fencing at a young age ignited her passion for the sport and motivated her to pursue excellence in her own fencing career. Tartakovsky’s journey as a professional athlete has been marked by constant learning, growth, and a deep understanding of the mental and emotional demands of high-level competition.

The openness and visibility of mental health discussions in sports, particularly in the aftermath of the 2020 Summer Games, have allowed athletes like Tartakovsky to share their experiences and benefit from the support and resources available. As she prepares for her Olympic debut in Paris, Tartakovsky remains focused on her goals while also recognizing the importance of mental preparation and resilience in navigating the challenges of elite-level competition. Her journey as an athlete has been shaped by her dedication, perseverance, and commitment to continuous growth and learning in the pursuit of excellence on the world stage.

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