Well, we made it through the Olympics. We made it through the tears and the fierce competition and the NBC promos for “Animal Kingdom.”
And what did we learn? And I mean besides the fact that gymnastics is still my favorite and swimmers are still cute even when they’re weird and winky.
I learned that it doesn’t matter how hard you train, if you can’t get your head in the game then you lose. Greg Louganis who still mentors the US Diving Team said this about walking into an Olympic arena:
“When you walk into a venue like this, you feel the energy. There is something there, it is palpable. If you interpret it as pressure, then you are more apt to implode. If you interpret it as inspiration, then it can fuel you to be more than you ever dreamed you could be….once you reach this level, it’s who keeps it together upstairs,””
Tell me about it, Greg.
Sports psychologist, Peter Crocker had this to say about the challenges athletes face:
“The biggest source of stress for an athlete is their personal expectations and the expectations of others,” Crocker said.
Umm…I completely relate. So what do these athletes do about all of this expectations-stress and inspiration that masks itself as pressure? Well, many of them have mantras. So here are some mantras brought to you by Google and my morning cup of coffee.
“‘Breathe, believe, and battle.’ My former coach, Troy Tanner, told us that before each match. Breathe—be in the moment. Believe—have faith that you can rise above it. Battle—you gotta be prepared to go for as long as it takes.”
–Kerri Walsh Jennings, Olympic Gold Medalist, Beach Volleyball
“‘If you think you can’t, you won’t, and if you think you can, you will.’ When I’m tired at practice, I tell myself that I’m not tired, and I can push through. If you tell yourself you’re tired or if you tell yourself you’re sick, your body is going to follow the mind.”
–Kellie Wells, Bronze medalist 100 meter hurdles.
“‘Keep calm and carry on.’ A challenging time is just that—a period in time. Taking a few deep breaths and knowing that it won’t last forever really allows me to focus on the present moment and task at hand.”
–Betsey Armstrong, 2008 water polo Olympic silver medalist and goalkeeper for 2012 U.S. Women’s Olympic Water Polo Team who took gold this year
“‘Falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional.'”
–Carrie Johnson,two-time Olympic kayaker
“‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.'”