Did you know??
Even olympic athletes have moments of struggle. Here are some cool stories of athletes coming back from a letdown.
Steve Holcomb, a 2010 Olympic gold medalist in the four-man bobsled, overcame a degenerative eye disorder in 2007. His doctors told him the only option to save his sight was a cornea transplant, but it would require giving up the sport he loved. Faced with having his passion stripped away, Steve grew depressed and at the age of 27, attempted suicide. He had lost his belief. When he woke up he realized it was time for a comeback. Up until then, Steve had kept his condition a secret to avoid vulnerability of losing the best equipment crews. But when Steve told his coach, he helped Steve find an ophthalmologist who performed two experimental operations in 2008, restoring Steve’s eyesight completely. A year later, Steve became the 1st American driver in 50 years to win the bob sled world championship. Then in the 2010 Olympics, he received a Gold medal. In 2012, he swept the two-man and four-man world titles. In the upcoming Olympics, Steve, age 33, is poised to defend his title in Sochi. He looks back and is grateful for others and the ability to use his breakdown as an opportunity to break through. There is always time to believe and recover.
Heather McPhie, the defending national champion in mogul skiing, had never felt sicker at the U.S. free style championship last March. The week before, she came down with a horrible sinus infection and was attempting to fight it. However, nothing appeared to be helping. Her symptoms peaked on the biggest day of her ski season.
Between qualifications and finals, Heather tried to catch a few hours of sleep. She was too tired to take her inspection run, a critical step in planning and visualization for skiers.
In addition, a rare fog had settled in over the mountain. Heather put on her headphones to away her negative thoughts. Although under incredible stress, she was able to quiet her mind and focus on her breathing. When she started out of the gate everything came into sharp focus; her brain and body, hard wired to perform thanks to years of training, kicked into the subconscious. Suddenly everything that was bothering her went away. She reached high speed with grace and her run earned her a miraculous victory and cemented her second national championship.
How did this happen? The only thing she could hold onto was a firm belief. She could barely remember actually skiing the run, but she new that it felt good. This trance mental state that gives way to a sense of effortless concentration has a flow. This flow also holds the key to finding fun enjoyment. The flow happens when we let our mind be free. We are simply in the moment and not worrying about the past or the future.