Winning the silver medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics didn’t come without its hardships for skier Nick Goepper. Though the victorious athlete is now happy and healthy, he revealed that after taking home the bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, he battled depression and even contemplated suicide.
Then just 19, Nick became a celebrity overnight. He appeared on shows like Today and The Late Show with David Letterman, had his face plastered on boxes of Corn Flakes cereal, and he even tweeted to Taylor Swift, asking the superstar to be his Valentine. Of course, that hype soon died down, as did Nick’s state of mind.
Nick alongside teammates Gus Kenworthy and Joss Christensen (L-R) in Feb. 2014.
“I think after the Olympic sweep, I got caught up a lot with the social media and some of the celebrity idea, like ‘I’m a celebrity, I’m super cool, I can do whatever I want’ and just partying with my friends and whatnot,” Nick revealed to USA Today. “I think that initial high, that initial rush, it took me a while to sort of really process all that had happened during the whole Olympic cycle.”
The star felt lost, and began drinking heavily. “I started to really question myself and my motives, having all these crazy existential questions like why am I doing this?” he said. “What is the point?” One day, Nick had the desire to down an entire bottle of vodka on his own, leading him to open up to his parents, who encouraged him to get help.
Nick entered a 60-day rehab program in Texas during the fall of 2015, which he called, “a fantastic, life-changing experience. I just feel very fortunate that my family and my situation I was able to take advantage of that resource.” He added, “It just familiarized myself with a really supportive community of people who had inflicted the same things upon them. I thought that was really uplifting and really cool to be able to talk about that.”
The athlete has been sober since September 2015, a choice that has bettered him both personally and professionally. “I don’t make silly decisions on the weekends,” he said. “I think almost have better relationships because of it. I don’t spend $200 bar tabs on the weekend. I think there’s a lot of little things that add up.”
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.