From Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno's book, Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday:
I love this saying: Reach for the unreachable. When you reach for that branch in the tree and you can touch it - great. That's your goal.
More: that's your destination.
When it's your destination, that changes everything about how you approach the way. An Olympics, for instance--that might be four years away. There are innumerable ways to get there. But those four years are going to speed by amazingly fast. An Olympics lasts seventeen days. The cauldron goes out and it's over. I've arrived--or have I?
Afterward, while I surely remember the Games themselves, I mostly recall the moments on the way. The strength you gain from that is remarkable. You've lived the experience--really lived it, fully.
The process, not the outcome. That has to be what sustains us as athletes, elite or weekend warrior. Every time the Olympic Games come around, we hear announcers say things like, "This is it." "This is what it's all about." "This is the moment." "This is what they've trained for." But really what "This" is cannot just be the Olympic performance. "This" wouldn't be enough to sustain these athletes over four years or more of highs, lows, good training days, bad training days, missteps or injuries, honing skills, practice, practice, practice.
What else besides the thought of "This" do I believe has to be there?
Number One: Passion. Passion for the sport. Passion for the feelings sport participation brings.
Number Two: Desire. Desire to be better than you ever thought you could be. Desire to see what your body and mind are capable of.
Number Three: Enjoyment. There has to be a feeling of joy and fun, or why do it?
Number Four: Reward. Rewards all along the way. One long-term goal of "This" and the thought of a possible reward of a medal of gold is not sustaining. There must be short-term goals and rewards to maintain motivation. Each and every small success should be celebrated.
Number Five: Positive Attitude. See success, feel it, live it before it's even there. Feel like a winner every day.
Number Six: Perspective. Realize when considering international competition, the odds are not exactly in any one person's favor. Pinning one's hopes and the idea of success or failure on one competition (considering there are always some variables outside of your control) is not just foolhardy, it is detrimental. Yes, it is an honor to represent one's country. Yes, the build-up to the Olympic Games is out-of-this-world, over-the-top phenomenal. But maintain perspective. Understand that if you are skilled and fortunate enough to get to that level, you cannot let the results define you as an athlete or as a person. See the bigger picture. Your Olympic experience began the first day of training. Every bit of blood, sweat and tears has been your Olympics all along. Know that, appreciate it, enjoy the whole experience of it.
How does this relate to the weekend warrior? Every time you step onto the field, the rink, the court, the treadmill, the aerobics studio floor, you are training for your personal Olympics. Push yourself, enjoy yourself. Live the experience fully. That is what "This" is. Go for gold, whatever that may be for you.
Here's to enjoying and living "This."
Excerpt from: Ohno, A. (2010) Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday. Atria Books.
"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."
Personal Best Sports
The sports world is filled with stories of perseverance, failure and success, personal struggles and public triumph. Each story provides insight into the mental side of sport and activity.