Olympic athlete's years of depression

An athlete has admitted she suffered a bout of depression resulting from having her sponsorship slashed and being told by her doctor that she had serious back problems.

Speaking to the Guardian, Olympic bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton revealed the last couple of years have been the hardest for her to deal with. Her funding was cut from £26,000 annually to £10,000, and her doctor revealed that prolapsed discs in her spine meant she had to withdraw from the heptathlon.

She admitted she would cry every day for six or seven weeks, but claimed the sporting world does not recognise the symptoms of depression.

Now Ms Sotherton's sponsorship for running the 400m relay has also been withdrawn, but the athlete has not let that stop her from training to do what she does best - compete.

Professor David Lavallee, a Chartered Psychologist of the University of Stirling, acknowledged that sportsmen and women can find changes such as being forced to retire from competitions traumatic, while financial challenges can also be distressing:

"Athletes can manage transitions by learning from previous transitions they have experienced.

"I believe this is something sport governing bodies should continue to try and address."