What You and Olympic Athletes Give Up to Win

I’ve been watching some of the Sochi Olympic Games and noticed how many athletes have a history of injury.

And not just one or two injuries but several…including surgeries.

How do you ski down a steep, icy mountain at speeds faster than what you can drive on most highways knowing that at any moment the slightest extra weight shift could send you tumbling like a rag doll and maybe even kill you?

And then, if you do happen to crash at 70 mph or more and break something, slash something, crush something, how do you get back on those skis and do it all over again a year or two later?

Alpine racers are different. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe there is something different in their brains like an atrophied amygdala, where fear resides.

Or maybe not.

Maybe they’re just really committed. Dedicated. Focused. Maybe they’ve trained themselves to go after what they want and they’ve made the mental and emotional adjustments to do what it takes to get it.

They know they can’t have everything. If they want Olympic Gold, there’s a price.


These athletes train hard and long; hours per day. They have seriously regimented lives. Diet. Sleep. Travel. Practice. Train. They have coaches and trainers and sports psychologists. They learn how to use visualization techniques to practice even while they’re off the course . They deny themselves things everyday hoping that one day the work will payoff in Gold. And if they crash, get hurt, they start over.

Olympic athletes exchange freedom for victory.

And so do you and I.

To overcome any injury or surgery, you have to give up things. Sometimes it’s a hobby or sport or routine that keeps re-injuring you or sometimes it’s 15 minutes of sleep so you can get up in the morning and exercise. Sometimes the thing you have to give up is being angry at your injury, pain, or situation and sometimes it’s thinking you have it altogether and don’t need any help.

You always have to give something up though.

And, that’s the really hard part.

But then, if it’s easy, the Gold isn’t worth much, is it?