Olympic Gold Medalist Emily Seebohm Shares Battle with Eating Disorder

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Emily Seebohm; Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Australian Olympic gold medalist Emily Seebohm revealed a two-year battle with an eating disorder in an Instagram post Friday, beginning 2021 with a pledge, “to be braver for myself.”

Seebohm’s post shared her struggles with binging, purging and meal skipping. She discussed her dissatisfaction with her body image and the struggle at being told that, “the only way I can swim faster is by losing weight and I have believed it.”

Seebohm’s post includes a new butterfly tattoo, a symbol of the Australian Butterfly Foundation, which supports people suffering from eating disorders. For Seebohm, as the calendar flips to an Olympic year, the tattoo is, “a reminder that I can do this!”

The 28-year-old Seebohm won relay gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She’s medaled at each of the last three Games, taking a silver in the 400 medley relay in Rio in 2016. She won individual silver at the London Games in the 100 backstroke.

The Adelaide native who’s now based in Brisbane has 24 career medals in the World Championships (short- and long-course), including five long-course Worlds golds. She’s medaled 12 times at the Pan Pacific Championships and 15 times at the Commonwealth Games. She’s coming off a strong season in the International Swimming League, the only Australian to compete in the second season of the league. Among the first comments of support on her post were from Energy Standard teammate Sarah Sjostrom and Siobhan Haughey.