While watching the events being televised of the 2010 Winter Games, it is wonderful to observe their commitment to their sport and to winning; their emotional control when they don’t make it or are disqualified, and their level of motivation to continue. In order to excel they have to be perfectionists with an inner drive; and they have to push themselves to constantly train until they are the best they can be.
Many of them have been training and improving their skills within their sport with the Olympics as their goal, for many years. For this type of dedication, they would by necessity have to be optimistic in the belief of their ability to make it. With the years of practicing and sacrifice, they in all likelihood have the ability to cope well with adversity, handle stress and anxiety and the ability to handle pain and discomfort. In short, they would also have to be mentally tough or they would have given up at their first disappointment.
How do they do this? From research I have learned that many practice positive imagery and self-talk and all, over the years, have learned coping strategies. Setting goals for themselves is a high priority also. They learn very quickly to bounce back after disappointments and injuries; time to recover is time lost to training.
This was the case of a two times Canadian Olympic downhill skier and World Cup champion who suffered two brain injuries but because of his indomitable spirit, he went on to ski again. He has also gone on to lead a very productive and fulfilling life. Because of his special qualities gained while training to ski competitively, he was determined that he was not going to give up.
A large percentage of people could not do this unless they initially possessed those special qualities that our Olympic competitors have. It is important to remember that these athletes are not born with these qualities; they have worked hard to acquire them.
Alex Bilodeau, the men’s mogul gold medal winner at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, gives credit to his brother Frederick for his inspiration to persevere and work towards competing at the Olympics. Alex said his parents were told that Frederick would not be able to walk after he was ten years old but at 28 years, he is still walking because he is determined to do so. He said if his brother can do what he has done when every day is a challenge he knew he could do it too.
Each and every one of the athletes who are competing in the Winter Games should be admired. They wouldn’t be where they now stand without a lot of hard work and the special qualities that have placed them as competitors for the latest Olympic Games.