Alia Atkinson’s Success Came From Focusing on One Day at a Time

There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.

Above is a quote from the Dali Lama, one that world record holder Alia Atkinson used when speaking at a corporate event over the weekend.

In Doha this summer Atkinson became the first black woman to win a world championship title and in doing so tied Ruta Meliutyte‘s world record of 1:02.36 in the 100 breaststroke. She also collected a silver in the 50 breaststroke finishing second to Meilutyte.

“I am a myth-buster,” she declared to the group as reported by the Jamaican Observer. “I am on top, and I am a black Jamaican swimmer!”

Atkinson told the group that she considered hanging up her goggles after the 2012 Olympics, where she finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke, but did not want to have ponder the question ‘what if?’

In a country that is known for its tremendous success on the track Atkinson hopes that by proving her nay sayers wrong that more Jamaican youngsters may believe in themselves and chase their dreams the way she has, “I am very stubborn… I had to believe in myself…I knew what my goals were; and to reach them, I had to try that much harder”.

Atkinson is also proving that her success has garnered attention from the Jamaican public, gaining corporate sponsorship from the likes of the GraceKennedy Group, which is the audience she spoke to on the weekend.

Her strongest message throughout the speech was that you have to take things one day at a time, “All we can count on is today,” said the passionate Jamaican. “We have to strive in each today, so that at the end of it, we can say ‘I did my best’.”

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I love to watch her race. She has a beautiful, exciting stroke and is always in there at the finish at big races. More and more black swimmers are becoming successful in international swimming, and it’s about time. There can only be great things to come. Congratulations on a great year, Alia!


Alia has had great success taking her training one day at a time. Do you think there are any athletes that have what it takes to take two days at a time?

I enjoy the stories on Alia, however it would be nice to include her club, South Florida Aquatic Club where she has been since age 14..I notice you mention other swimmer’s clubs so I don’t think I am over stepping. Even more importantly is her longtime coach Chris Anderson, who is seldom included in any stories about Alia. While Alia has accomplished much, she did not get there alone. In fact her journey is an amazing story. Coach Anderson took a lump of clay and molded it into a world record holder and champion. Coaches seldom get any props.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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