Every Race Is The Olympic Final
Competing in the Olympic final for a medal is most competitive runner's dream. Very few will get the opportunity. And of those who do, only a fraction will be in the hunt for the podium. The magnitude of the event is so grand. This makes it tough for the athlete, even the Olympian, to be psychologically ready for the weight of the Games.
I've conversed with a few Olympians who have experienced our sport's version of the Super Bowl. It is a fantastic, life-changing experience they all said. Some admitted to not being prepared for the gravity of the event while others had no issue. Those felt ready and simply viewed it as another race.
In fact, one Olympic medalist commented, "Long have I made believe every race I'm in is the Olympic final. So once I was at the start line of the actual Olympic final, it was only another footrace to me." Was he excited? Sure. Was he nervous? Not so much.
He told me the value of treating every race as the Olympic final is that it conditioned himself to show up, not leave any effort on the table, and treat every race with the importance an Olympic final demanded. Without this mindset, he confided, he felt he would never have elevated to the world-class level.
Additionally, if every race is the biggest race of your life, then when you get to Olympic final you are familiarized with the pressure, expectation, and intensity that comes with such circumstances. And the fact that it is the Olympic final doesn't change anything — you've already raced there many, many times before.
Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm