I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a champion. Does it mean isolating yourself from everyone and everything that doesn't have to do with your goal? Does it mean training eight hours a day? Does it mean surrounding yourself with positivity? Does it mean going the extra mile? Does it mean doing what other won't or can't do?
I decided to look into how Olympic athletes approach training, balance, diet, and motivation. I found a couple articles that interviewed athletes, and pulled some quotes that I thought were interesting or useful.
Katie Uhlaender, Skeleton Slider: "I've been pretty narrow-minded. There's one thing to focus on,"
"I'm completely focused on training and sport," Uhlaender said. "I did everything I could to know that when I walk into the Olympic stadium, I feel prepared."
Kristin Armstrong, Cyclist: She stays active by hiking with friends, but she doesn't participate in strenuous activity. Although training is essentially Armstrong's full time job, she values balance in her life. Fortunately, she was accepted into the Home Depot program, which allows her to work 20 hours per week with full time wages and benefits. Work is also a distraction.
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, February 2006
Gymnast Alicia Sacramone: "I remind myself that I've been working for this so long, that it'd be silly to give it up after so many years of hard work. Also, that this tough part here is temporary, and that the Olympics are so close, I can make it through anything now."
Swimmer Kim Vandenberg: "I just try to think of the process and not so much the end result. If I'm working hard and doing everything I can, in the end it will all come together. I'm taking care of the small details: sleeping, drinking water, and eating healthy foods. Having that knowledge that I'm preparing well gives me comfort and confidence."
"I tell myself that the pain I go through is only going to help me in the end, and I keep that in the back of my mind. If it wasn't for pain I wouldn't be improving. I try to embrace it and know it will help me. And all the pain makes the end result that much more satisfying."
Diver Laura Wilkinson: "Visualization, at least for me, gets me to that point ... It takes practice, just like diving does. I just had to be patient enough to practice it."
Track Star Lolo Jones: "But as my coach always says, your body is like a car, and food is like your fuel. I am a race car so I can’t just put unleaded fuel in my car. I need that good premium fuel."
"I am also a big fan of this quote by Frederick Douglass, 'If there is no struggle, there is no progress.'"
Women's Health Magazine
Regardless of whether they won a medal, these women are true champions. Just by making the Olympic team, they proved they're among the best in the U.S. in their chosen sport. I admire their drive, dedication, motivation, and focus on doing their best at all times.
I'm going to post some of these quotes on my wall to continually remind myself to believe in myself and to stay focused on my goal.
Who are your role models? Do you have any favorite inspirational quotes?