BEIJING (AP) — Whether it’s a sideline injury or a loss on the world stage, Olympic athletes know what it’s like to suffer major setbacks — and bounce back.
Most athletes who are lucky enough to compete in the Olympics do not go home with medals. But many often go home having achieved a personal best: a career-high judge score or a faster race time.
For athletes, it’s proof that resilience pays off at the Olympics.
Athletes share how they developed resilience and weathered disappointment:
NAME: Karen Chen
SPORT: Figure Skating
COUNTRY: United States
American figure skater Karen Chen says athletes aren’t always open about all the challenges they face to compete in front of the world at the Olympics.
“I never talked about it, but before the team event, I fell down the stairs and hurt my ankle,” said Chen, who finished 16th overall in the women’s skating event. free.
“But you know, I was resilient and I was like, ‘I’m going to compete,'” she said. .”
NAMES: Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Soerensen
SPORT: Ice dancing
Canadian ice dancer Nikolaj Soerensen knows the mental toll an injury can take and says he hopes his recovery can inspire others.
After injuring his knee in 2019, Soerensen was unable to have surgery as it was in the middle of his skating season with partner Laurence Fournier Beaudry. The experience taught her the importance of patience, taking time to heal, and resisting the negative emotions that can accompany hurt.
“The mind can play a lot of tricks on you when you’re injured,” Soerensen says.
To avoid getting into a rut, Soerensen and Fournier Beaudry took dance lessons off the ice, with Soerensen sitting in a chair to work on his arm movements.
NAME: Moritz Muller
SPORT: Ice Hockey
German ice hockey player Moritz Muller says he has learned over the years that setbacks are a part of life and everyone has them.
“The most successful people are the ones who have suffered the biggest setbacks,” Muller said after Germany were knocked out of the competition in a 4-0 loss to Slovakia.
Muller says he recovers from setbacks by taking the time to figure out what went wrong and learn from his mistakes. Her family helps her keep things in perspective and not take herself too seriously.
NAMES: Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson
SPORT: Ice dancing
COUNTRY: Great Britain
After working with a mental coach, British ice dancing duo Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson say they learned the importance of replacing any doubts they might be feeling with confidence.
“You fill your head with thoughts and it’s very powerful. You are your own biggest influence,” Fear says.
They say the positive attitude has been key to their resilience.
NAME: Madeleine Dupont
Madeleine Dupont says the Danish women’s curling team talks a lot about the kind of team they want to be, including how they want to behave after games.
“Do we want to be the team that gives up and doesn’t bounce back from a loss like this?” Dupont said after Denmark’s 7-2 loss in a round-robin match against Great Britain. “That’s not how I want to be, and that’s not how our team wants to be. We just want to keep showing up and keep doing our best.
She said the losses can be difficult and make her want to lie in bed crying. But she knows that’s not how she wants to look back.
“I want to be the one who keeps fighting,” she says.
NAMES: Adrian Diaz and Olivia Smart
SPORT: Ice dancing
After failing at the Olympics four years ago, Spanish ice dancing duo Oliva Smart and Adrian Diaz have been working on more constructive communication so there is no tension on the ice.
“You can’t say it was easy. It took us five years to fully understand what we needed to do,” says Smart. “Not just for skating and training, but for life.”
Whether it’s a teammate, friend or family member, Smart says she’s learned that improving communications can take time and patience.
“But those breakthroughs happen – they just take time and patience. If you give it that time, it’s definitely worth it,” she says.