NEVER STOP IMPROVING.
For Olympic athletes, stagnating when it comes
to skills can mean the difference between getting gold and going home with
nothing. They must constantly push themselves to be faster, stronger, and
better than they've ever been, even sometimes blowing past the limits of what
others said was humanly possible.
BE A TEAM PLAYER.
There are dozens of stories of amazing
teamwork in the Olympics, from the dynamic duo of Missy May-Treanor and Kerri
Walsh-Jennings to the impressive relay teams in men's and women's swimming.
Many Olympic athletes toil away for years to
train for their individual events, only to lose out on gold within a matter of
minutes. It can be devastating to work so hard and have nothing to show for it,
as Allyson Felix explained after finishing second in both 2004 and 2008 (though
she came back this year to earn the gold).
Why do we go so crazy over Olympic athletes?
Because they excel in ways many of us couldn't imagine. They set themselves
apart from the competition. They stand out as the best of the best in their
DON'T GIVE UP.
We all face failure or major setbacks in our
lives, and Olympic athletes are no exception. Major injuries, heartbreaking
defeats, or even personal loss have sidelined the athletic careers of many but
they've also pushed others to try even harder and to come back this year better
and stronger than ever. Need an example?Sanya Richards-Ross came back from injuries and self doubt to take gold this year in
the 400-meter. Gymnast Jonathan Horton battled a foot injury he thought would
leave him unable to compete until 2016. Instead, he made the team in high bar
for this year's games and said, "The injury was the greatest thing that ever
happened to me. I had lost my desire for a long time, and I realized that I
don't want to quit."
HAVE A GAME FACE.
Competing in front of millions of people in a
once- or twice-in-a-lifetime event can be extraordinarily nerve-wracking, but
many of the best athletes never let it show. They keep their fear and
uncertainty under wraps, sometimes even masking their disappointment when
things don't go as planned. That game face allows them to develop a strong
persona, one that often makes them a more fierce competitor.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Athletes spend hours a day working out, they
eat right (usually), and pay attention to warning signs that things
aren't right with their bodies, like unusual pain or new symptoms.
CREATE A SUPPORT SYSTEM.
While athletes may be alone when competing for
gold, they rely on a team of supporters to help them get there. Coaches, family
members, fans, and friends all create a support system that help make that
Olympic dream a reality.
USE YOUR STRENGTHS TO
In Olympic team sports, different individuals
will play different roles. For example, in gymnastics one team member might
specialize in beam while the other is a vaulting expert. In relay sports, one team member may be
better at starting, another at finishing. Each plays a role in getting the team
FIND A PURPOSE.
You've likely heard
the stories of Olympians who are going for gold not just for themselves but in
the memory of lost loved ones. Others have simply dreamed of gold since they
first took up their sport of choice. No matter what is driving them to win,
individual glory, national pride, or the memory of a friend, there is no doubt
that these individuals are sincerely dedicated to winning. They've given their
mission a purpose. Why? Because purpose inspires passion and that passion is
often what separates those who are highly successful from those who just can't
quite get there. Find the gold medal equivalent of success in hockey and go for
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