What Olympians Know About Resilience by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
There are many ways to learn about resilience, and many successful groups of people who have based much of their success on learning this important trait. However, no group knows better how to build resilience than athletes. Here are some basic principles of resilience that Olympians live by.
1. Even the best must practice. Athletes know that resilience and endurance are built over time. The very best athletes train far more than their lesser counterparts. Winter Olympic athletes must train year round, and even when they don’t have access to the right conditions for their sport. Speed skater Apollo Ohno completes strenuous stair workouts when he doesn’t have access to ice for skating.
2. They visualize success. The best athletes visualize themselves achieving their goals. Skier Lindsey Vonn memorizes the runs before an event, and visualizes skiing through the course in record time.
Many of the greatest Olympic athletes train their entire lives for a single chance at Olympic competition. For example, most gymnasts have a very short career, and are considered too old to compete by their early twenties. The most successful girls, like America’s Shannon Miller train nearly their entire lives before their win. Miller, who won a gold medal for the balance beam at the 1996 Olympics, at age 19. She had been training for that day since she was five years old.
No matter the feat you’re trying to conquer, resilience is an important piece of success. Mental and physical toughness can help you to reach your most important goals, in part because these traits ensure that you won’t quit when times are challenging. No group understands this better than Olympic athletes. Their stories offer advice that each of us can use reach our own versions of taking home the gold.