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Michael Phelps narrated film, ‘The Weight of Gold,’ on Olympians, mental health, sets premiere

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“The Weight of Gold,” a documentary about Olympians’ mental health challenges narrated by Michael Phelps, debuts July 29 on HBO.

Phelps believes he experienced a state of depression after each of his five Olympics. He first shared his mental-health struggles in 2015, saying he spent days curled in a fetal position, “not wanting to be alive anymore,” following his September 2014 DUI arrest, according to a Sports Illustrated cover story.

Phelps became a mental-health advocate since his 2016 retirement. He partnered with Talkspace and appeared in a film, “Angst,” to share his story of being bullied and depressed, leading to severe anxiety.

“For a long time, I only saw myself as a swimmer, not a person,” Phelps, an executive producer for “The Weight of Gold” alongside director Brett Rapkin, said in an HBO press release. “When I walked off the podium in Rio, I knew many of my teammates and competitors were not aware of, or prepared for – the post-Olympic transition. In sharing our stories, it is my hope that we can encourage others to open up, let them know they are not alone and that it’s OK to not be OK. For me, the opportunity to help break the stigma surrounding mental health and potentially save a life is way more meaningful than any Olympic medal.”

“The Weight of Gold” also features Olympic medalists bobsledder Steven Holcomb and aerials skier Jeret “Speedy” Peterson, who both battled depression during their careers. Holcomb died in his sleep in May 2017 at age 37. Peterson committed suicide in July 2011 at age 29.

Holcomb was the genesis for the documentary. Rapkin interviewed the bobsledder in 2017 for a film on Holcomb’s return from a degenerative eye condition and a 2007 suicide attempt to win an Olympic title in 2010. Twelve days after the interview, Holcomb was found dead.

Rapkin decided to expand his project to cover U.S. Olympians across several sports, telling stories of mental health battles. Other Olympians in the film include Shaun WhiteGracie Gold, Sasha CohenBode MillerDavid Boudia, Lolo JonesJeremy Bloom and Katie Uhlaender.

MORE: Ian Thorpe: I wish Michael Phelps was a bit older

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Rafael Nadal to miss U.S. Open; men’s, women’s singles fields named

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Rafael Nadal is not entered in the U.S. Open, joining the recovering Roger Federer in missing the first Grand Slam tennis tournament since the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s the first time a Grand Slam tournament main draw will be missing both legends since the 1999 U.S. Open.

“The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” was posted on Nadal’s social media. “This is a decision I never wanted to take, but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”

The U.S. Open starts as scheduled Aug. 31 without fans. The rescheduled French Open, which Nadal has won a record 12 times, is scheduled to start two weeks after the U.S. Open ends. Nadal did not mention in Tuesday’s statement whether he planned to play Roland Garros.

Nadal won his fourth U.S. Open in 2019, defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in a five-set final. That moved Nadal within one Grand Slam singles title of Federer’s record 20.

Federer previously announced he is out for the rest of 2020 following a right knee procedure.

U.S. Open Entry Lists: Men | Women

The U.S. Open fields are led by top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams.

Other notable players not on main-draw entry lists published Tuesday: women’s No. 1 Ash Barty and 2016 U.S. Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Other than Barty, the top 28 women in the world rankings are entered, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are the top-ranked men in the field. Djokovic and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, plus first alternate (and wild-card candidate) Andy Murray, are the only male Grand Slam singles champions in the field.

VIDEO: Coco Gauff delivers speech for racial justice

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Why did Shaun White cut his hair? Carrot Top

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Shaun White said a revelatory chat with Carrot Top led to the Olympic snowboarding champion chopping off his flowing red locks more than seven years ago, according to a report.

“I went to an event in Vegas where I run into Carrot Top,” White wrote, according to a Bleacher Report AMA last Wednesday. “We were talking about our hair and he basically looked at me like you could see into his soul and he basically said he was stuck like this. And at that point it was like seeing the ghost of Christmas future. And at that point I was like omg I can change.”

White documented a meeting with Carrot Top on social media in September 2013, but that was 10 months after the haircut. They must have met in 2012, too.

White, formerly known as the Flying Tomato, posted video of the haircut in December 2012, saying he didn’t tell anybody beforehand. He had grown tired of the nickname.

He donated the hair to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for needy children.

White is known for charitable efforts for children, including with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. White was born with a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot, requiring two major surgeries before his first birthday.

White, a 33-year-old who recently changed his hair color to blond, announced in February that he ended a bid to make the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team for the Tokyo Games.

He is expected to compete for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he could be the oldest U.S. Olympic halfpipe rider in history.

MORE: White, Shiffrin among dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s

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