Depression among athletes has emerged as a significant outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding experiences of depression symptoms is important as many athletes are unable to train normally for their respective sports due to the pandemic. Consequently, many athletes may perceive their fitness and training has suffered, which has implications on mental health. Fitness-related self-conscious emotions (i.e., shame, guilt, authentic pride, and hubristic pride) may help to explain the relationship between these fitness perceptions and mental health. The present study explores fitness-related self-conscious emotions as mediators for the association between athletes' perceptions of fitness and levels of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Varsity athletes (N = 125) from the University of Toronto completed a cross-sectional self-report survey in a major lockdown and nearly a year after the beginning of the pandemic. Controlling for age and gender, separate mediation models reveal significant indirect effects of fitness perceptions on depression through shame, b = -.07, 95% CI(-.14, -.01), p <.01, guilt, b = -.06, 95% CI(-.14, -.01), p =.02, and authentic pride b = -.06, 95% CI(-.13, -.01), p =.01, but not through hubristic pride, b = -.01, 95% CI(-.05, .05), p =.35. No direct effect of fitness perceptions on depression across all models indicate that shame, guilt, and authentic pride fully mediate the association between athletes' perceptions of fitness and depression. These findings highlight the importance of understanding fitness-related self-conscious emotions as a mechanism to understand athletes' mental health during periods of sport cessation.