As a kid, I dreamt of being an Olympic medalist. My passion for glory was unquenchable and for years I wondered what stood between me and the podium. I tried every sport going but I must have lacked talent, focus, and training something because it just didn’t work out for me. After listening to interviews with the athletes in Sochi, I’ve concluded there are in fact, some tried and true steps necessary in becoming an Olympian. I may have skipped a couple:
- Don’t smoke. I was a pack-a-day smoker. At 13 years of age, how on Earth could I have known I’d graduate to crack eventually cigarettes would have an adverse effect on my training?
- Consume nutrients . I ate Cheetos for lunch. I thought they were baby carrots. Totally delish not my fault.
- Put in the hours. Due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to devote the required hours to my Olympic training. My days were already chock- a -block full with soap opera watching, sleeping and smoking Export A Lites. Athletes must carve out more than 10-15 minutes/day to train. (This one seems to be non-negotiable).
- Develop a team mentality. I didn’t look good in burgundy and gold. Unfortunately, these were our school colors so I didn’t bother trying out for any teams, even though the coach begged me to stay home. I was only thinking of myself and how washed out I look in those ugly colors. This is no way to win a medal.
- Be professional. Apparently you have to look like a nun to be on a swim team; no one told me a G-string bikini was not an acceptable bathing suit option. I never went back after the mutual groping incident poolside at the ‘Y’. Bye bye hot swim coach Olympic swimmer dream.
- Listen to your coach. My figure skating coach never let up on me; she wanted me to be dead the best: “Stand taller!”; “Stop whining!” ; “Tie those #$%ing laces for the last time!!” After the third concussion from tripping on them, I quit. Maybe she was right? I’ll never know for sure.
- Be flexible. I couldn’t continue with figure skating lessons because they were offered at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings and I was still asleep during that time (You try getting up at that hour after partying all night and see how you like it). After the eighth missed lesson I was banned from the rink asked to reconsider figure skating.
- Have a mantra. Mental fitness is half the battle. When you’re discouraged and weary, repeat a self-affirming mantra that fuels your soul. Mine was, “I’m going to Dairy Queen the Olympics!”
- Eat, sleep and breathe your sport. I stopped reading after ‘breathe’. I guess that wasn’t enough. Whatevs.
- Remain gracious in tough times. Depositing dead, festering rabbits on the front steps of coaches who cut you from teams or worse, demanded you show up, never works. It’s better to take air out of their tires the high road.
If I’d had this secret list of obscure tips when I was athletically inclined and could touch my toes without screaming in pain, things obviously would have turned out differently for me. I’m still bitter but I’m trying to focus on the positive: I’m down to half a pack a day and I can still rock a G-string bikini in a dark cave with a neck to ankle robe over top of it . Take that, friggin’ Sochi show-offs.