Dear Fellow Olympians,
Congratulations on making the best team for the best country that will compete in the games! For many sports, the US Olympic team is the hardest team to make. There will be lots of information coming your way over the next few weeks. It can be an overwhelming time as you try to focus on your upcoming performance. Here are some tips you should remember from one Olympian to another.
Stars on the Right, Stripes on the Left
I have been to 4 Olympic games and a bunch of world championships where I have earned medals. Yet, a quick google search will yield only one picture of me holding the American Flag,.. the wrong way!! In the excitement of the moment remember that your right hand should be on the stars and your left hand on the stripes. Learn from me on this one.
You are already a winner
You have already won! Of course, your aspiration is to be on top of the podium, but being on top of the podium is not the only kind of winning. Trying your best and competing with integrity are the things you already conquered to get to this point. These things make you a winner
Before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games begin over in Pyeongchang, you have already joined an elite group of athletes. Only a fraction of a percent of the people in the world will achieve this honor. Think about that for a minute. You are one of the greats! This is a once in a lifetime journey for most Olympians, and an accomplishment the majority of people will never experience.
Dare to be the same
Don't make the mistake of trying to change things up for the games. You don’t need a miracle, magic, or divine intervention to do well at the games. You don't need to "dare to be different", instead dare to be the same. All you need to do is the same thing you did to reach this point. Do the same thing at the games that you do any time you compete, just with more focus, more confidence, and less distraction.
Good team chemistry is important.
Many Olympic athletes are placed in a situation that can be hard to balance. Your Team USA teammates may also be your competition. And, not just your former competition outside of the Olympics, but the people you are competing against for that coveted gold medal. So, now you have the challenge of learning how to build camaraderie with people as you also compete against them. Remember that we are stronger together. Team USA is the best team in the world. Prioritize compassion and professionalism over winning and you will surely be satisfied with the result.
Communicate clearly with your support system
A strong support system is a great thing to have. However, make sure that you don't let your support system become a distraction to you. You are the only person that will know best what you need at each moment. Clearly communicate these needs to your coach, agent, family, and friends so they know what you need from them. Communicate early and often, do not wait until you have reached the point of frustration before you speak up. Your support system wants to see you do well and will understand if you need some space. There will be plenty of things that can keep them busy while you focus on preparing for your performance. You have worked hard to get to this point so don't worry about being selfish with how you spend your time in order to perform at your best.
Take time to learn from others
You are getting ready to meet people from all over the world. Take time to chat with other athletes who are pursuing their dreams as well. Get to know them. Iron sharpens iron and there is a lot that you can learn from the other athletes you meet during the Games. Learning about different cultures and perspectives will help you grow as an athlete. Keep an open heart and an open mind during your journey.
Take it all in
Don't forget to take a moment to soak it all in. Live in the moment. While you are in Pyeongchang make sure you step back for a moment to observe where your hard work has gotten you. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells. Enjoy living in the moment, if even for just a minute. It is a moment you will never forget. Let gratitude be your guide and you won't go home regretting your result. Enjoy your journey! I will be watching and cheering!