Saturday, September 04, 2010

Olympic advice

i came across an interesting series of articles in the New York Times archives recently that i think is worth sharing. originally, it was supposed to have been a 5-part series of Olympic athletes providing advice on training and technique in their respective sports, but it seems to have grown to a semi-regular feature currently at 9 articles and apparently ongoing.

you can check them all out at the following link:
be sure to go through all of the media tied in with the articles, because they're also fascinating. the article with Sara Hall, for example, features the following:
i find it interesting to observe the regimen of elite (especially world-class) athletes, not just because of the potential tips and insights into athletic development, but also because of what it reveals about the lifestyle of the athlete in particular and who they are as people. invariably, i find that while all athletes are different, and approach their lifestyle and their sport in different ways, that there are inevitably some constants:
  • discipline (over yourself and your surroundings),
  • diligence (effort and hard work),
  • commitment (persistence),
  • faith (confidence in yourself and what you are doing),
  • mindfulness (awareness of details and what is happening),
  • intelligence (an ability to question and reason out how and why things are done...and if necessary, to consider alternatives), and
  • ambition (goals set as objectives of effort).
i think you can see all of these qualities reflected in the articles in this series. yeah, the athletes are ostensibly only talking about training and technique, and really only in their own sports. but i think there are additional things that come through, and if you ponder the mindset and manner behind what they say, you can ascertain various expressions of the above qualities.

i think this is useful, because it serves as a reminder that no matter how elite the athlete, whether celebrity professional or unknown amateur, that there are still certain characteristics that are associated with sports and fitness. you don't see improvement in athleticism with a requisite set of factors, and all the genetic ability in the world (or lack thereof) won't make up for a lack of the fundamental components in character needed to develop and utilize that ability--and for certain, for those of us who lack any athletic ability altogether, we'll never even get out of the starting gate without such components in character.

i should note most of these articles are not really related to endurance sports or triathlon. the exceptions are the articles with Christian Van de Velde (cycling), Sara Hall (running), and Ryan Lochte (swimming). but i think you can peruse all of them and see a consistency in the themes i'm talking about.


No comments: