At Olympic Trials, how do these athletes deal with such heights of emotion? From the agony of defeat to the thrills of euphoria?
Whether participating in the Olympic Trials or watching from the stands, this meet is one of the most intense, action-packed ones you can ever attend. Some people say that it is more intense than the actual Olympic Games. Making the team can be more pressure-cooked …you want to make it, you have trained many years for this moment, and yet it comes down to a small moment in time. At the Olympic Games, you just have to race – you are already there, partaking in arguably the finest sporting event in the world.
So many emotions can run through an athlete (and fans in the stands, too!). Yet, when it comes down to it, this is the beauty of sports – seeing what we are made of, and what we can do on a given day. When we have given our best, and it all comes together in that moment and we make the Olympic Team, we experience the ecstatic joy of years of accumulated effort, not just by the athlete but by many who supported us along the way. When we have given our best, but it falls short of our ultimate goal, we still need to be proud of ourselves, and appreciative of all of the supporters along the way, even if it means just missing the Olympic Team.
In life, that is all we can ask of ourselves – commit to our dream and fully live it. Be willing to risk it all even though there is no guarantee for any of us.
The emotions of victory and making the Olympic Team and not making the Team – we saw it all last night:
Seeing Breeja Larson win the 100 m. breaststroke and Rebecca Soni do her thing to make the team. To be able to watch Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte race again in the 200 free (and watch Phelps’ amazing finish), and for the 4×200 free relay members: Ricky Berens, Conor Dwyer, Matt Mclean, Charlie Houchin. To see swimming MISSILE Missy Franklin break the American Record and win the 100 m. backstroke and Rachel Bootsma make the Olympic team, and watching one of the world’s best ever athletes, Natalie Coughlin not quite be able to do it on this given day in the 100 m. backstroke for her third Olympics (she still will have her chance in 100 free). For Matt Grevers to smoke a great 100 backstroke and for Nick Thoman, David Plummer, and Ben Hesen to race into the finish with Nick getting there slightly ahead.
These moments are why we swim and love sports.
Being from Minnesota, I am very proud of of two great swimmers, Rachel Bootsma, coached by Kate Lundsten, and David Plummer, coached by Ben Bartell, and his college friends and coaches, Dan Berve, and Zach Wood. Both went best times at this meet, and gave their best – in the end, that is what we strive for in life.
Yes, emotions can run high in all of us, and it is a wonderful gift to feel all of them. Yet, in the end, we get to appreciate that life has many facets to it, and it allows us to shine in some moments and be tested in others.
May we all stay focused on appreciating the beauty of our successes and celebrations while also appreciating the struggles along the way, too. This is what makes up who we ultimately are, and who we become.
In addition to being an Olympian, and therapist, Katrina is an author. Her inspiring peak potential and wellness book, “Be Your Best Without the Stress” shares her Olympic story and tools for you to create your Olympic moment.
Her book is available at the Speedo booth if you are the Olympic Trials. In addition, if you would like it signed, Katrina is signing autographs in the Aquazone TODAY, Thursday at 5 pm. She would love to meet you, so come on by!
You can also order it via www.katrinaradke.com (store in upper right).
To keep in touch with Katrina, please visit:
Katrina Radke website and blog: www.katrinaradke.com
Katrina Radke twitter: www.twitter.com/katrina_radke
Katrina Radke Facebook: www.facebook.com/katrinaradke1