Words from an Olympian

Welcome back!

Tonight, I had the opportunity to see a someone speak that was a gold and silver medal earner in the 2008 Olympics.  Shawn Johnson East, a fellow Iowan, trained from a young age to become one of the top in the gymnastics world.  

Elite.  And, although she's won the gold, the best moment of her life (besides her wedding!) was when she won her silver medal for the all-around events.  Silver...  because that is what changed her forever.  

Before she competed in that last event, she had mentally calculated whether she could win the gold, and the answer was grim...  she could not.  Shawn almost decided not to go and compete at all - I mean, why?  If you can't go for the Gold?  

But she did, and won the silver, placing her as the 2nd best gymnast in the world.  Shawn had read the papers and articles, prior to going to Beijing - a mentally-defeating activity.  The expectation was there from the world that she was to win 5 gold medals.  No small feat and loads of pressure for a 16-year-old.  

She proceeded through her events, like usual - doing GREAT, like usual!  And then, she made a change that was again taboo for her mindset.  Shawn looked at her individual scores before the final event was completed.  This threw her off.  Causing falls (which was a zero occurrance for her), causing her to fall off her mental game.

She won the silver.  Which is pretty amazing.  In the moment she knew she could not win the gold, Shawn decided to go out and compete anyway - for herself.  And she was liberated.  Weightless.  Free!  And completed the most amazing routine of her life.  And she won the silver.  She was ecstatic!   

Then, something happened........

As Shawn received that medal around her neck, she heard,"I'm sorry."  Not,"Congratulations!" or "You did a great job!" but...  "I'm sorry."

Those words shattered the world of this 16-year-old.

I'm sorry.

She was still reeling from those two, small words and was whisked away to the interviews.  Within minutes, they were put aside and Shawn was regaining the confidence and excitement of winning her silver medal!

But then, the first interviewer...  

asked her a question that caused her to fight back tears of anger!!  

"How do you feel about losing?"

I mean, WHAT?!

She had achieved much more at the young age of 16 than many do in their entire lives!  But here she was, being asked how she felt about losing.  

Shawn answered with the true spirit of an Olympian and a champion.  

"I didn't lose - I WON a silver medal.  I won for this country and myself...  (rant - and duly deserved!)"

She WON.  Because she worked her BUTT off and did her best!  Shawn gave her heart and soul to this sport and did so in a winning way - and always with a smile!  What else would you expect from America's Sweetheart?!

After this second confidence-busting comment, this young athlete sunk into a numb, apathetic state - even though she had one more event in which to complete.  Her practice for the beam was terrible and all she wanted to go was go home, put on sweats and eat cheeseburgers and ice cream.  (Her words!)  

She didn't even care at that point, but went out and did her beam routine on auto-pilot...  and won the gold.  Even at her broken point, Shawn won the gold.  But winning her silver medal was still the best moment of her life.  

Check out the 2 minute video below to find out a tip I gained from Shawn.  What a great role model and athlete she had shown to be!


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Chondra Rankin!  My passion is teaching and inspiring YOU how to become prepared to grasp the luxury of designing your life well - so you can live your life... your way!

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