Coping with Fear at the Vancouver Winter Olympics

Watching the jumps, races and lifts at the Winter Olympics can make us gasp with awe at the amazing feats the athletes have accomplished. While preparing themselves through practice and hard work, they have had to make modifications and take risks in their behavior. While as a Sandwiched Boomer yours may be less dramatic, nevertheless they are just as important to you.

Overcoming fear of risks. In order to succeed as an Olympiad, athletes need to conquer their fear of the unknown and go for the gold anyway. As Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky has said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.Snowboarder Shaun White understands taking measured risks and won the men’s halfpipe gold medal by hard work and his readiness to take chances. Although he was already the winner after his first run, he chose to attempt his difficult, signature moves in a second run.


Exuberant after accomplishing his ‘Double McTwist 1260,’ he said, “I have fun, I have dreams, I have goals, and I’m just now trying to do them.” After preparation of your own, outline the risks you feel comfortable tackling and then address them with gusto.

Overcoming fear of change. With the poor weather conditions in Vancouver, many Olympic events have been postponed, throwing schedules into disarray. Athletes need to adjust to these shifts without a decrease in their readiness to compete. One athlete who initiated her own major change was figure skater Yuko Kawaguchi who gave up her Japanese citizenship and moved to Russia to be trained by legendary coach, Tamara Moskvina.

Figure Skating Pairs Free Program - Day 4

Although she did not medal at the Games, she lived her dedication to her sport by her move. When you are forced to modify your own original strategy, don’t hesitate to put your Plan B into action. It just might be a winner.

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