Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy spoke about the pressures of competing at the very highest level on Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day.”
Murphy won gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay, silver in the 200-meter backstroke and bronze in the 100-meter backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics to add to the three golds he won at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
But he said he still feels immense pressure before races, illustrated by his refusal to wear in-ear AirPods to listen to music because “when I try to open the case to put them in my hands are shaking too much” to put them back in.
“I have to wear [headphones] over the ears because the pressure is really huge out there,” Murphy told anchor John Berman.
The anecdote came during a discussion about U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, who on Tuesday won bronze on the balance beam following a difficult week in which she withdrew from team and individual finals citing mental health concerns.
Murphy hailed Biles for bringing attention “to some really important issues,” calling her an “incredible” athlete and person.
Watch the interview here:
Four-time Olympic gold medalist @ryan_f_murphy explains the pressure of the Games.
Before races, he listens to music on headphones, not AirPods "because when I try to open the case to put them in, my hands are shaking too much that I can't actually get them in." #Tokyo2020pic.twitter.com/5OCfMzCSse
— New Day (@NewDay) August 3, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.