Psychoneuroimmunology concerns of the Olympic boycotts

Zhaohui Su, Dean McDonnell, Bindi Bennett, Barry L. Bentley, Junaid Ahmad, Sabina Šegalo, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Claudimar Pereira da Veiga, Yu Tao Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Just weeks away from the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the United States, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, has declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games. A diplomatic boycott stipulates that while government officials of these countries will not attend the event, the athletes’ scheduled attendance will largely remain intact. An unintended consequence of the boycotts is that they force the attending athletes to cope with the stress and distress associated with the 2022 Winter Olympics in an unfamiliar environment on their own. It is important to underscore that many of the challenges the athletes could face amid the Games are either deep-rooted or unprecedented, ranging from stressors fuelled by the nonstop media reports, the competitions, to the Omicron scares. These insights combined, in turn, underscore the imperative for effective and preemptive mental health support for Olympic athletes. To shed light on the issue, this paper highlights the reasons why timely solutions are needed to adequately safeguard Olympic athletes’ mental health and overall wellbeing, and underlines promising technology-based solutions that can be cost-effectively designed and developed for the athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-208
Number of pages3
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Diplomatic boycotts
  • Mental health
  • Olympics
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Public health


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