Facing Fear at the Vancouver Winter Olympics

We all enjoy watching the skillful way that Olympic athletes are able to compete. But behind their performances in Vancouver are long, hard years of dedication to their sport. Today we look at two more fears they have faced and defeated. You too can triumph over your fears, if you are a Sandwiched Boomer or not.

Overcoming fear of competition. Performance anxiety is a term familiar to many of us as it is one of the most common phobias. Speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is no stranger to competition, having conquered his own fears and come away a champion, not only on the short-track but also on the dance floor. Ohno entered many races and has already beat the record for the most U.S. medals in the Winter Games. Ohno doesn’t always win, but he does strive to perform to the best of his ability each time he competes.

Men's 1000 meter short track speed skating event at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

To overcome your own stage fright, there are some techniques you can employ: remember to put the competition into perspective; do deep breathing and relaxation exercises; concentrate on your own actions, not those around you; practice, practice, practice.

Overcoming fear of sacrifice. After 46 years of consistently taking the gold medal in pairs figure skating, Russia/U.S.S.R. was finally was shut out from the medal podium. How did China’s Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo manage such a feat? They endured many sacrifices along the way. The oldest skaters in Vancouver, they have been together for 18 years and married for the past three. After victories amid numerous injuries, they retired in 2007.

Figure Skating Pairs Free Program at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

But two years later, they put their marriage vows and personal life on hold to retrain and live in the athletes’ dorms as they worked to fulfill their dreams of Olympic gold. As you set important goals for yourself, recognize that you too may need to give up some pleasures along the way.

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