How Olympians Are Different…

Figure SkatingI have been blessed to work with over a dozen Olympians during the course of my career, some in team sports and some individuals and most of them have been quite successful.  With the Games due to start shortly, I know many of you will be watching and forming ideas of what makes an Olympian different.

  • Is it their genetics?
  • Is it superior training?
  • Is it the time they put in?  The 10,000 hours?

Let me offer some insight here.

Being a genetic freak definitely helps, but it is not essential.  Some have an incredible gift, but not all.  Some of the Olympians I have trained were good athletes, but not exceptional.

What got them to that level (and what helps the exceptional ones get to the top) is their commitment to the quest.  The commitment to do what needs to be done on a daily basis regardless of what they feel like doing, what their friends are doing or what the weather is like – they do it.

They do need solid training…

A good training program will help them make progress from year to year and increase their resistance to injuries, but there is no special training program that will automatically create excellence.  That is a habit built over years of minimizing the weaknesses and deficiencies and building on the strengths.

It is the consistency that counts.

Is it just a matter of time…

SkiingIf it were just a matter of time, we would all eventually become Olympians – some of us might be a little older when we get there.

I don’t believe it is just a matter of putting in the practice, but that is an essential ingredient.  I think we have all seen an athlete who hates what they are doing and even if they manage to succeed at a high level, they often plummet back to average pretty quickly.

I think the secret sauce here is passion.  Not just a passion for the sport, but a passion for excellence because that can sustain an athlete through the periods when the sport is not really fun, but a job and everyone goes through periods like that.

So hopefully you can see that they are pretty much like you and me.  In any area of our life if we apply the commitment and consistency to a goal that we are passionate about we will achieve excellence – maybe not the Olympic games, but excellence nonetheless.

Here are a few other qualities that the top performers share in common for the most part:

  • Really nice people
  • Very polite
  • Humble
  • They take a long-term development perspective rather than look for the quick fix
  • Interested in the process of training
  • Interested in the successes of other athletes
  • Seek out experts to help them get to the next level – coaches, trainers, technicians, etc.
  • Work consistently toward their goals – they take ACTION!

So here we go another Games approaching!  Go Canada Go!


PS – if you want to follow the same steps as these athletes, we do have a small number of training slots open for those who are ready to take action and achieve their goals.