Setbacks. We all have them. But how you choose to handle those stumbling blocks is what sets you apart from the pack. If anyone can attest to this, it’s Olympians. After all, they push themselves to the limit day in and day out, just for the opportunity to compete on the world’s stage—and come out on the other side with a nice piece of shiny bling! Of course things don’t always work out in their favor. Yet they always seem to know how to pick themselves up, and go on to compete another day. So what’s their secret?
Ahead of the 2018 Olympic Games in Peyongchang, South Korea (which you can watch on NBC starting tomorrow) we chatted with five athletes to find out. In the video above, past and current Olympic competitors offer their advice on turning setbacks into success.
Check out the highlights below:
Elena Myers, Bobsled, 2x Olympian
“The biggest thing is realizing that stuff will often not go your way. I just really look to the people around me. I surround myself with really strong people—my husband, my family—and use their strength to help me get through everything.”
Lolo Jones, Bobsled/Runner, 3X Olympian
“Just utter grit. I would like to finish what I started. I’m a runner and so you know you may struggle in the race, but when you see the finish line you are like, I am determined to get to that finish line.”
Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing/ Cycling/ Rowing, 3X Paralympian
“The way you deal with setbacks in a race would be to start off with a good cup of coffee first, and make that, and make sure I am back to my happy place. I thrive off the word ‘no.’ I’ve been told so many times in my life that I would never walk. I would never be an athlete. I don’t have the right build to be an elite-level athlete. Every time I was told ‘no,’ it was kind of like putting a little wood to the fire, and it was making that fire brighter and brighter. Finally I was like, I can do it, I am going to prove them wrong.”
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Ashley Wagner, Figure Skater, 2014 Olympian
“Setbacks are inevitable, especially in my sport. Ice is slippery. Life happens. But at the end of the day, you set a goal for yourself. If you can acknowledge that you are not just going to get there in a day and that it takes baby steps along the way, that makes it so much more manageable.”
Hillary Knight, Ice Hockey, 2x Olympian
“I think that’s what’s valuable about being a part of a team sport is that I am able to surround myself with amazing people. And I look for motivation and inspiration all over, in our locker room essentially.”
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