Skateboarding-After bruising loss, skater Huston says mental health takes precedence

TOKYO, July 26 (Reuters) - U.S. skateboard star Nyjah Huston nursed his bruising Sunday loss in the inaugural men's street event at the Tokyo Olympics, apologising to his supporters and extolling the importance of athletes taking care of their mental health after competitions.

"I've had a lot of high moments in my career over the years but I've also had some very low ones and it's something I've always mentally battled and tried to be better at," the 26-year old California skater told his 4.8 million fans on Instagram.

Huston, ranked no. 1 in the world in men's street skating, came seventh in Sunday's event in a major upset after he failed to land any of his last four tricks. Fellow American Jagger Eaton won bronze at the event, held in scorching temperatures, while Japan's Yuto Horigome made history by winning the first gold medal of skateboarding at the Olympics.

Admitting that in the past he had at times isolated himself or turned to "chugging" alcohol after disappointing competitions hoping to make things better, Huston told his Instagram followers that above all else, mental health was the most important.

The mental wellbeing of athletes have been in the spotlight after tennis champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open in June to focus on her mental health. Osaka's decision was initially met with hostility by organisers, but eventually won widespread support from athletes and fans alike.

"Because when it comes down to it ... I don't skate to be the best, or to be famous, or make money, or be an Olympian," he wrote, expressing his love for skateboarding. "It's the funnest thing on Earth."

Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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Mari Saito is an investigative reporter with an international remit, covering everything from wars to popular protests. Most recently Mari produced a series of investigations about war crimes in Bucha, the infiltration of Ukraine’s security services by Russia, and the discovery of thousands of pages of Russian military documents in a bunker in eastern Ukraine. Mari, who is originally from Tokyo, also uncovered corruption in the run-up to Japan’s Olympic Games and has worked on a series of investigations about asylum seekers in Japan and labor abuses by automakers.