Swimming was the other sport I couldn’t take my eyes off cause our American squad just took over with a vengeance in just about every event both men and women. Michael Phelps was the dominant king but the dominant queen in my opinion was Missy Franklin who was no more than 17 and won many gold medals. Just to swim at an incredible pace takes conditioning to a level you can’t even imagine. Like Gymnastics, Swimming takes up your entire body from head to toe and each event looks more grueling than the other the toughest being the Butterfly I think. That sport became a favorite to watch and wasn’t much of a swim fan in previous Olympics but after learning many forms of exercise and conditioning I had a new found respect for certain sports.
We all know that some athletes have used steroids in the Olympics to increase their performance and chances of winning but it comes with a price. Steroids for personal gain is just plain stupid and there were at times when some of them didn’t realize they were on it because Roids don’t always come with a needle, comes in creams, pills and all sorts of stuff and it’s just plain dumb to even put athletes on it. I realize there is pressure among coaches, families, teammates and the organization to an athlete that they are expected to do great things and many of them are duped into being as perfect as possible even taking serious health risks for seeking that perfection. It’s really tough to avoid that kind of thing when you’re a world-class athlete whether an Olympian or a Professional so to really avoid it, do your research, learn alternatives that bring you more health instead of decreasing it and find that power within you that gives you the strength, speed and endurance naturally and show it that you don’t need Steroids or P.E.Ds (for those playing the home game that’s Performance Enhancing Drugs). This is a suggestion not a general way to do things.
Training at the highest level of Competition takes practice in ways you can’t imagine unless you’re in your specific sport. One of the greatest amateur wrestlers of all-time Kurt Angle was an Olympic champion, World Champion, NCAA Champion and a profound man on his intense level of conditioning. While he trained for the Olympics, he ran hills as far as 200 yards, lifted weight in very high numbers, once he went to the University Of Iowa where Dan Gable was still coaching and once had a match with one of his wrestlers, this wasn’t your typical hardcore 4-3-3 minute rounds, this was a 40-30-30 minute rounds that made you realize how far you’re willing to go to keep going. That’s not hardcore training, that’s pure insanity and the will to fight to keep up with yourself. I have been in a wrestling room and for a 3 day period, it was till this day, the longest 3 days of my life as an athlete. It’s not just wrestling, it’s every sport you’re in, if you want it bad enough, if you want to be the very best, than you got to train harder than anyone else, you won’t always be the strongest, biggest or meanest cat in the gym or in your field but the will to bust your ass in practice makes you an athlete with the highest of honors and that’s fighting for what you love and smiling while you’re doing it. The hardest part isn’t the training, training actually is the easy part, and the competition is your toughest part because the training you already bled sweated and gotten through, now you got to put that to the test.
Out of everything you do for a sport, no matter how many opponents you won or lost to, there’s that one opponent that will always come after you and that’s the same one you see in the mirror every morning. The other guy is just another athlete that you’ll face time and time again or face him/her only one time but fighting yourself is the one thing you face every single day. If you can learn to grapple yourself and overcome the challenges you face every day, the rest is a cake walk. After watching some of the Olympics and reading about the other athletes, it’s safe to say with every up and down, won or lost, defeated and conquered every single athlete down to the very last place did everything they could to make it to the highest level of competition but many of them still need to find that one thing that brought them there and make it consistent otherwise, they will become just another athlete with the word Olympian attached to their name.