Julia Mancuso recently posted in her blog, “…if you read my blog, or other athletes comments or blogs on reasons why they win, or why it all comes together on a certain day, you will most likely always find something in common, BELIEF.” When I think about this, I realize just how true this is. Do you think that the best in the world believe that they can win any given day? Probably. They most likely aren’t preparing for their race and thinking, there’s no way I can do this.
“For example, World Cup ranking, why would I ever write that I want to be 25th in the World Cup, shouldn’t we all have the goal of being 1st?? They (my coaches) always had the same reply, be realistic. So why should we not all strive to be number 1?? Whats so unrealistic about that? Sure there’s only one spot on top of the podium, but if I don’t want it, someone else will. From all my years on the podium, I think the biggest setback for a racer is to have the goal of making top 30 going into a World Cup. If you don’t think you can win a World Cup run, or section, you shouldn’t be racing World Cup, because you already lost to half the competition before you even kick out of the start gate.”
When I reflect on the best races that I have had, and in most cases surprised myself, like Julia says, there has always been one thing in common, belief. When I raced in Schweitzer, ID three seasons ago in 2010 I fully believed that I could do something amazing, that if everything came together I could come out on top. I was starting with bib number 74th and in the end I finished 22nd. This was a great feeling considering I started so far back and was also my first super-g race of the season due to a injury I had earlier that season. At K2 provincials in 2009 I also surprised myself. I had done respectfully in the super-g training finishing around 15th, and was only about a second out. I thought of one thing that I knew I could change for the race (having a clean arc through all my turns, which equals less scrub and equals cleaner, faster ski) and thought, a second is nothing! On the race I ended up 6th, and this was a huge accomplishment for me, especially considering that at the beginning of the season I barely broke top 20 in zone races This applies to my training too; after quite a few injuries I have had to work on my confidence every time coming back. I find that when I am standing at the top of a course, feet in front of the timing wand or no, that if I can clean my mind and just feel the belief in every inch of my body and know what I have to do in the back of my mind, that I am capable skiing to my potential. Of course it is not always this easy, and there are other factors that come into play as well. This is also a big part of dreams and goals, in her blog Julia tells us about her Olympic dreams, “I was dreaming of Olympic Gold since I was a little girl. I drew the poster that VISA made into a commercial at the last Olympics, you could call that my vision board!”, I believe that this tells us how important it is to keep believing in your dreams, and to never stop fighting for what you want. It has also been quite the amazing end to season for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, first with Ben Thomsen having his first World Cup downhill podium, and Erin Mielzynski winning her first World Cup slalom race, both young athletes who have worked extremely hard to get where they are, and just never stopped believing in their potential. So, maybe what I need to do next is draw a picture of me winning the Olympics.