How To Become A Medal Winning Olympic Champion.
Winning in sport.
The Olympic games are one of the worlds most inspirational events, all the countries of the world can come together and demonstrate their love for, and varying abilities in many different sports. Once every four years, dedicated sportsmen and sportswomen get to compete for the opportunity to win a much coveted gold medal, and become the Olympic champion in their field of sporting expertise.
During this years Olympic games in 2012 I was fortunate enough to be living in the country which was hosting it, the United Kingdom. We experienced the best coverage of the games that I have known in my life time, largely because of the benefits of changing avenues of media that are now available to us. I was fascinated by the range of events and the admirable personalities including many I had never seen or heard of before. We saw womans boxing for the first time and numerous records were broken, call me bias but in my opinion it was a truly fantastic spectacle.
The spirit of the games has stayed with me since and it got me thinking about the people behind the headlines. What exactly makes an Olympic champion? What distinguishes the winner from the other competitors? Are champions born or made? Can anyone become an Olympic champion and if so how? After I did many hours of eye opening research, I discovered some really exciting and interesting common elements that can be applied to most if not all Olympic champions, and I am going to share them with you in this article, I hope you find them as intriguing as I do.
The Champion mindset.
A large proportion of the effort that goes into winning a gold medal is psychological. Before you even begin to train you have to have a solid and unshakable belief that you can win. There will be many times when you will not feel like training, but a person with a champion mindset will not give into the reoccurring temptation to give up. Those with the strongest minds and the greatest sense of self motivation and determination will prove to be the victors.
All athletes have had to contend with 'hitting the wall', this is a point during the sporting activity when the body is tired or in pain and the body is sending out all kinds of signals to try and get the body to stop. However this is the time when the great get separated from the average, those focused individuals with their eyes firmly on the prize will begin to adopt their techniques for mind over matter, they will push through the exhaustion and the aches. Winners do not stop, they do not quit, they just keep challenging and stretching themselves, no matter what.
I have been reading about and researching P.M.A. on and off for many years, it stands for positive mental attitude, and it applies to success in all areas of life and not just in sports. The more scientific research that has gone into the benefits of having the right mental attitude, the more evidence that has accumulated to prove it's importance and that it is an essential ingredient for winning.
The thought always comes before the action, so give yourself a huge advantage from the outset by thinking the right thoughts and believing you can win.
Find something you are good at and enjoy doing.
One of the best things about deciding to become an Olympic athlete is finding your sport of choice, and believe me the options are many. You don't have to read this article to know that the more you practice anything the better you become at it, so you will be giving yourself a head start by choosing an activity that you already have at least some experience in. It is also imperative that you get pleasure from the sport that you want to participate in.
To reach the extremely high Olympic standards will require countless hours of training and, once you enter into the sports arena it should be treated like a serious career commitment if you want to become the best. You will need to be excited and passionate about what you do, and like with all callings we get in life they will choose you and generally not the other way around.
Listen to your instincts and follow your heart, if you are being pulled towards something go with it.
Don't be put off by other peoples opinion.
In life there are the people that achieve and the people who don't and those who don't achieve more often then not, try to put the people that want to achieve off. Sadly there will be many people on many occasions that will attempt to get you to quit and tell you that you can not make it, please don't listen to them.
If you have a dream, then follow it, pursue it till you reach your goal and you will succeed. However this will require on your part the ability to develop a thick skin. You will need to muster up so much passion, belief and self motivation that whenever anyone tries to put a downer on your Olympic vision, (which unfortunately they will), you will be able to bounce off any negativity and reply politely but assuredly, that you are confident that you can do it.
You maybe told that you are too thin, or too tall, or too short, or too heavy and all kinds of other ridiculous reasons why you won't be able to win a medal at the Olympics, none of which will be true. How do I know this? Because anyone who has ever won a gold medal at the Olympics was told by someone at some point that they they could not do it. You are no different then any of these champions, all you have to do is prove the doubters wrong.
Treat your body like a temple.
- A healthy, varied and balanced diet is essential. You will need to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, 'good' fats and carbohydrates will all contribute to benefit your body and keep it running at it's optimal best.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, preferably water.
- Get plenty of sleep, your body will need the best chance of recovery so that you can perform at your best again the following day.
- Training is important, as is general exercise it will require plenty of practice and lots of hard work to win a medal at the Olympics.
- Ensure that you stretch and warm up at the beginning and stretch and cool down at the end.
- You will also need to challenge yourself and improve your performance every time.
- However you will also need times to rest and relax, you do not want to push your body to the point of injury.
- Feel body confident, love your body, respect it and look after it and in return it will serve you well.
- Don't be afraid to see a doctor if you need to, even the healthiest of people are not immune from catching the odd ailment, and the quicker you can treat a problem, the sooner you can get back to your Olympic mission.
Start as soon as possible.
The fact that you're reading this very article now tells me that you are already way ahead of many people who have thought about becoming an Olympic champion but have not taken any further steps towards it. You are already taking it seriously, this is a good sign. Do not waste anymore time though, the minute you finish reading this article I want you to do something that will take you one step closer to achieving your Olympic dream.
Whether that's deciding what you want to do, or trying something new in sport, running round the block, reading more about how to prepare for the Olympics or investing in something that will help get you there. It does not really matter what it is as long as it is helping you along. Life is too short, do not miss out on this extraordinary opportunity simply because you left it too late.
In a few years time do you want to be receiving your Olympic gold medal to a roaring crowd or do you want to be watching someone on television receive theirs? Start today, start now, do not hesitate.
But don't ever think it's too late.
This may sound like I am contradicting myself a bit here but there is logic behind my thinking, honest. It takes 10,000 hours to master something, if you have the determination, dedication and the sheer drive it takes to give this amount of time to your dream, it can still be achieved, and don't think that age has to be a deterrent either, it doesn't. It maybe that it took you a few years to realize your dream, or even for you to believe that it was a possibility for you.
Many people find their calling later in life and still manage to be a success in their field, why should it be any different for you? You may find yourself in a better position financially as you have gotten older, or you may have found yourself with more time on your hands then ever before. You may have moved to a different location where you have found the right facilities or help. Whatever bought you to the realization, no matter how long it took, it's worth being thankful that at least you discovered your passion at all, as the saying goes it's better late then never.
Know the best practice.
There is usually a reason why things are done the way that they are, it's generally because it's the best method known to get the job done properly. Sport is no exception, all the champions that have ever been have learned from the winners that have come before them. We know that a healthy diet is beneficial because there have never been any winners who had a predominantly bad diet, and a plethora of scientific evidence backs this claim up.
The high jump was revolutionized by the Frisbee flop, he figured out an improved approach to his discipline, a more effective way of jumping and thats why all high jumpers copy his technique today. It's simply more effective. The bikes are designed specifically for the environment that they are intended for, as are the rowing boats, they provide the best performance possible.
Training methods are strikingly similar among competitors in their field, because they incorporate the skills and knowledge that will be required to win. Whatever it is you want to get into, find out as much about it as you possibly can, there will be a benefit for you behind all of it.
But don't be afraid to do it your way, if your way works.
Many athletes have had unconventional styles, yet despite the different techniques used what counted was that they worked for them, and as long as no rules are broken, it does not matter how winning is achieved as long as it gets the job done. If you discover that your way is unique in some respects or even in all respects, if it enables you to beat the competition, then go with it, embrace it, celebrate it even.
There maybe those that laugh, or criticize or mock your ability, do not let that bother you. Because for every person who says anything bad about it, there will be an even greater number of people who will admire you and who will even try to copy you.
There is no one way of doing anything, there maybe a standard or a recommended way, but there are variables and exceptions for everything, including sport. Situations, beliefs, ideas and people change, do not be afraid of change and do not think that you have to revert back to traditional methods if you are not legally obliged to do so. As long as it's still a fair playing field, then by all means go with it, no matter how differently it may be done.
Give it as much of your time as you can.
Like in pursuit of anything sacrifices will need to be made, if you are going to make it as an Olympic medal winning champion. It may mean spending less time with your family, missing that program on television that you really wanted to see or not going to an event or party. In cases such as these it's important that you weigh up the options, consider the pros and cons, there will be many times when you will have to decide which is more important and if you really are serious about your Olympic dream, then that will usually take presidency.
Although it's probably not worth missing your wedding day for a training session, I'm sure you can catch up with the housework another time. One of the most surprising things you will realize is that most of it you don't miss anyway, since I started writing seriously and neglecting the television set I don't actually miss it and we are fortunate enough to live in a time where television on demand is available, so if you really do want to watch something you can, just at a time thats more convenient to you. I also thought my friends would get a bit hacked off with me being busy all the time but as soon as you tell them why, they understand completely, they will want you to succeed almost as much as you want to succeed yourself.
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