Overcoming Fear at the Vancouver Winter Olympics

As the Olympic Games continue in Vancouver, today we focus on overcoming two basic fears – failure and success. Competitive Olympic athletes have fought them – and so can you.

Overcoming fear of failure. For some, failure signifies humiliation and the loss of self-esteem. But when the goal is to perform to the best of your ability, you can feel good about yourself even when you don’t come in first place. As Coubertain stated in the Olympic creed, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” Stay focused on your growth and the series of steps you take – not the outcome.

Men's Moguls - 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Canadian skier Alexandre Bilodeau personified this ideal as he envisioned his courageous brother as a role model – and won the gold medal in the men’s moguls in the process.

Overcoming fear of success. Are you stopped in your tracks by thoughts about what might happen once you actually achieve a victory? Do you think you will be hurt by the high expectations of others after your triumph? Believing you must perform perfectly sometimes stands in the way of achieving your goal.


U. S. figure skater Evan Lysacek had to deal with this stress at the Olympics, admitting, “I did have some extra pressure coming in as the reigning world champion.” He took the chance for additional success at the Games and skated with passion and skill, winning the gold medal and savoring the experience.

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