Olympic great Michael Phelps has advised athletes to take care of their mental health after the Tokyo Olympics, due to happen in July-August of this year, were postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You go through something for four years and we kind of know exactly when it’s going to come and our bodies are ready for it, then we have to wait,” Phelps told NBC in an interview on Monday.

The 34-year-old retired swimmer, who won record-breaking 28 Olympic medals, urged the athletes to further sharpen their skills during the time which they have received due to the postponement of the Games.

After initial reluctance, the Tokyo Olympics organisers and IOC on March 24 had decided to reschedule the Games following a teleconference call between Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, IOC chief and all other stakeholders.

Emphasizing with the athletes, Phelps said that he was able to comprehend what the athletes were going through after knowing the delay and felt it was imperative for them to not overthink and look after their mental health.

Phelps’ comments come after American gymnast and four times Olympic champion Simone Biles informed that she had cried after learning about the postponement of the Games.

“It’s our life. I’ve tried to replay what I would be going through emotionally at this very time if I was still competing – it’s hard to really comprehend it,” said the most decorated Olympian ever.

Following due considerations between the IOC, International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and Tokyo Metropolitian Government, the new dates – July 23 to August 8, 2021 – of the Summer Games were announced last week.