As most of you know, the Vancouver Winter Olympics are currently underway. The unfortunate thing about the winter Olympics is that they fall right in the middle of my busy semester, leaving me with little time to keep up with the events and stay tuned to what is happening! But because I find the Olympics as one of the most inspiring events in the entire world, I took some time to look up a few inspirational stories to share with you. Many of the athletes have overcome adversity, challenges, and tough struggles to get to where they are today. But what I am most fascinated with is not the things that they have dealt with or what has set them back in their athletic career through the years, but is actually the opposite: what has kept them driven to succeed? What sets an Olympian apart from an avid runner or the occasional ice skater? Why are these particular people "going for the gold" despite the challenges, difficult training, and everything they will have to endure to get there? I'm intrigued by the drive and determination that these people have and the stories below reflect that.
- Speed-skating Simon Cho makes the Olympic team.
Heading into the U.S. Olympic Trials, short-track speed skater Simon Cho was a long shot to reach the Winter Games in Vancouver.
At 18, he was younger than most of the top American contenders, and he was coming off a subpar season in which he had walked away from the sport for nearly a half-year.
During his hiatus, Cho read a lot, including A Journey, an autobiography by his rival and occasional training partner, Apolo Anton Ohno.
“Of all the books, his was the one I remember the most,” Cho said. “I didn’t realize how much he had battled, the obstacles that he had to overcome. I saw that it’s often that way with anybody who succeeds in a big way. After a while I got to thinking that if he can do it, why can’t I?” (Read the rest of the story here.)
- Training the Olympic mind.
Shannon Bahrke, 29, is a three-time Olympian, specializing in the moguls competition. A silver medalist at Salt Lake in 2002, she also runs a coffee company, Silver Bean Coffee, which is dedicated to providing delicious coffee while supporting athletes including Kris Freeman and Johnny Spillane. Vancouver will be her last Winter Games, which is why her bronze medal win on Saturday was an emotional win for her.
The competition to make this year’s team was insane. Heading into the Olympic Trials, I was ranked fourth in the world and third in the U.S. Still, I wasn’t assured of being on the team until the last day of competition.
That’s why the mental side has become so important to me. I work with a hypnotist and a sports psychologist. Deep breathing is a big part of my preparation now. Before a run down the hill, I’ll breathe in deeply for six seconds, briefly hold and then breathe out for seven seconds. That helps calm me down and stay focused. (Read the rest here)
And one last thought for today...what if we sought out the "gold medal" in our own lives every day? By that I just mean simply living the best you can today. Being the best friend, student, person that you can be, and sharing that with others. Isn't that what gold is all about?