Ramsey Angela won’t be competing in the Olympics later this month, but the Dutch sprinter is still holding his head high.

Following a brief social media hiatus, Angela returned to Instagram Monday with a poignant message about his athletic disappointment. Following a triumphant silver medal win in Tokyo, the sprinter says he experienced a series of ups and downs, as he struggled with his physical and mental health.

“After our Silver medal, I somehow thought I made it and knew how this works. Little did I know that my journey started there,” he wrote.

Still, at the start of this year, Angela thought he was back on the right track. He enjoyed a successful indoor season, setting a national record and winning bronze with Team Netherlands (Angela is a relay runner).

“After dealing with some injuries and letting it get in to my head a few times, this year I finally felt like I was ME again. After making the decision to just put the hurdles on pause and focus on the 400m, running a PB quickly after (during my pre outdoor season) and qualifying for the Europeans, really gave me so much strength, motivation and confidence,” he said.

But then the outdoor season began, and Angela’s team struggled. They only finished 10th in their heat at the World Relays in the Bahamas in May, and then failed to make the final at the European Championships the following week.

When Angela suffered an injury last month, his Olympic dreams for 2024 officially ended.

“Only 16 days ago, I finally could put the pieces together mentally and ran one of my best races ever. You can imagine that gave me yet again another boost,” he wrote. “Only 3 days after, during my last session before The Nationals, I got injured… again. At first it didn’t seem to be damaged, but after some tests and a scan it resulted a grade 1 tear. End of story.”

He closed with a mantra: “I wanted it too much. I will be better. I promise myself.”

Though Angela is obviously disappointed, talking about his moments of self-doubt and struggle send a powerful message. Social media, and Instagram in particular, is filled with curated snapshots of people’s lives. The parades of photo dumps from luxurious vacations, beautiful weddings and scintillating adventures can make somebody feel small.

After looking through one’s Instagram feed, it’s easy to wonder… does everybody have a better life? Does nobody else struggle?

Angela and others who share both their trials and tribulations are more real.

Angela has always been authentic, right down to his coming out story. The Dutch native never made a formal coming out announcement. Instead, he just lived his open life.

Before the Tokyo Games, LGBTQ+ publications noticed Angela was posting pics of himself and his then-boyfriend, model Pol IJpelaar.

Those shots, combined with a celebratory photo of Angela standing in front of a rainbow leg, all but confirmed his orientation. 

“The socials are quite important for my career. I’m convinced it has a big effect on things like sponsor deals or commercial interests,” he told ESPN. “I share a part of my private life and this is part of that. That’s how I see it.”

In that same interview, Angela said he originally harbored doubts about going public with his relationship, but decided being open was the best way to live. 

“To be honest, I did wonder whether it was normal. I had this brief period of doubt whether this was right,” he said. “But I soon thought, ‘There it is, I can’t change it, I’ll go for it.’ I guess now that I have a boyfriend, my first one, it has gone public. The other relationships I had, or whatever, I did post about them [on social media]. Now I post about my first boyfriend, but not like it’s a surprise. It kind of happened naturally, it’s part of being Ramsey Angela.”

To understand Ramsey Angela, one must look beyond the track, and into the camera lens. A model and fashionista, Angela has starred in shoots for a number of international apparel giants, including Calvin Klein, Puma and Dr. Martens.

He’s also a photographer, organizing shoots with his teammates in their down time.

“My head is constantly full of thoughts: fantasising, planning, having conversations, you name it. There are so many multi faceted athletes out there, all creative in some way,” he posted on Instagram. “I’m an athlete with many talents.”

Judging by the reaction to Angela’s admission regarding the Olympics, his fans embrace every part of him. Out Olympian Jack Woolley, and hundreds of others, expressed their support.

It’s always better to see the whole picture.

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