WNBA star Liz Cambage has withdrawn from Australia’s 2021 Olympic women’s basketball team after reports that the team’s COVID-19 bubble burst.
According to reports, Cambage had verbal and physical exchanges in the closed-door melee between Las Vegas and Nigeria, where the Australian women’s team was stationed before Tokyo competed for the gold medal.
News Corp. also reported that the four-time WNBA All-Star player recently broke the national team’s agreement to go out in Las Vegas, and the Australian basketball team is already investigating the matter.
According to ESPN’s Olgun Uluc, the two incidents triggered investigations and “discussions about her possible dismissal” a week before the game.
However, Cambage issued a statement on Friday evening, revealing that she had decided to withdraw from the Olympic team because of concerns about her mental health.
“Anyone who knows me knows that one of my biggest dreams is to win the Olympic gold medal with opal. Every athlete who participates in the Olympics should be at the peak of the spirit and the body, and at this moment,” said the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist .
“I’m still a long way from where I want and need it. As everyone knows, I have been struggling with mental health in the past. Recently I am really worried about entering the “bubble” Olympics. No family. No friends. No. Fans. There is no support system outside of my team. To be honest, this is terrible to me. For the past month, I have been having panic attacks, not sleeping or eating.
“Relying on daily medications to control my anxiety is not where I want it now. Especially to participate in competitions on the world’s largest sports arena.
“I know myself, I know I can’t be the Liz that everyone should see fighting for Opals. At least not now. I need to take care of myself mentally and physically.
“It breaks my heart to announce my withdrawal from the Olympics, but I think it is the best for Opals and myself. I only wish them good luck in Tokyo, and I hope they keep going and win the gold medal. Love and light,” she concluded.
AOC will explore the possibility of delaying the replacement of Cambage in the Opals team.
AOC head Ian Chesterman said he understood Cambage’s decision.
“During the two Olympics, Liz has made great contributions to the Australian Olympic team. We respect her decision and wish her healthy again,” Chesterman said.
“Our focus now shifts to working with Opals so that they can achieve the goals they set for themselves in Tokyo. We know they are fully committed to succeeding in Tokyo, and they will still bring a very strong team to this campaign.”
As a key member of their past two Olympic campaigns, Cambage’s withdrawal caused a devastating blow to Opals, and after NBA star Ben Simmons withdrew from the baby boom generation.
The Opal team is considered to be the second most popular American team to win the championship. The two strong teams will face each other in the last exhibition match of the weekend before heading to Tokyo.
The 29-year-old’s exclusion also made Opals a player in their Tokyo campaign. Cambage is one of 11 players and there are no emergency reserve players on the team.