Monday, August 15, 2022

Shiffrin looks at what Biles, other Summer Olympians have gone through

Alpine skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin was paying attention when gymnastics superstar Simone Biles Opened up about being burdened by the “weight of the world” and made it to the finals at the Tokyo Olympics six months ago.

Shiffrin was also listening when the superstar Celeb Dressel was swimming. Turns out, after finishing first in five races at the Summer Games, it was “terrible” to face “so much pressure in an instant”; Your whole life boils down to a single moment. ,

Observed Shiffrin: “He won as many gold medals as he can in Tokyo and, by the way, still felt the same way.”

Empathizing with other athletes’ candid conversations about mental health, the 26-year-old from Colorado wondered what awaits her at the Beijing Olympics, where what could be the first of five individual races for Shiffrin Next Monday is giant slalom, an event she won at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

There is a physical aspect to what he will have to do on the slopes. What does he have to do before competing to prepare? What will he have to do to recover afterwards? And then there’s the psychological side of it, a lot of which comes down to absorbing or distracting from the anxiety and stress that goes from everywhere to owning three Olympic medals, three World Cup overall titles, and six World Championships. arising out of expectations. Sleep

“Everyone expects, every time she steps into the start gate – no matter what the event, no matter what the preparation, no matter what – that she’s going to win the race. And that’s an unrealistic expectation. He has dealt somewhat with this throughout his career, but apparently, more recently, over the years he has shown dominance,” said Mike Day, Shifrin’s head coach with the US Ski Team.

“It’s something, frankly, we need to be aware of. Being the face of the Olympics or the face of a nation during such an international event, it’s a lot of pressure to bear,” Day said “We’re trying, and have always tried, to provide a cohesive environment that’s comfortable for her and something that she knows everyone in that circle has her back and will look after her when she needs it. . And that is, you know, more or less all the time.”

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In a video interview with the Associated Press, Shiffrin discussed what she called a “pressure-adder.”

These can be situations or what she reads or hears through traditional media and social media. There are also people she divides into two categories: a “bubble”, to use her word, consisting of complete strangers (“Is someone saying, ‘I hope you crash! ‘ or they’re saying, ‘Please win!'”), and the other includes Shiffrin himself, as well as those closest to him: coaches, US teammates, friends, family.

People in the latter group like to “watch it when I ski well. It’s so exciting when I win. So you know if those things don’t go the ideal way to a certain extent.” It’s going to be frustrating,” Shiffrin told the Associated Press. …and the chances of that happening are very small.”

Her mother, Eileen, who also works as a coach, watches Mikaela closely in everything she does while traveling the ski circuit together.

“I haven’t been the ideal ‘role model-parent-coach,’ and I’m still trying to find balance. I sometimes do the most important thing — Mikaela’s mental and physical well-being and happiness — for a season.” could get lost in the midst of the chaos, when it seemed like the most important thing to do was just work,” Eileen wrote in an email to the Associated Press. “It’s been a setback per season for both of us to reevaluate what we’re doing. At that point, I think it’s important that I’m his mom, because that’s what makes me realize I’m working so hard. and she’s not thriving under it, so we need to reset and let her be happy.”

Awareness of mental health, and concern for it Still relatively new in elite sports.

The world is only beginning to learn about what kinds of concerns they are happy for, or against, deal with and how widespread such cases can be.

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“I always say we are athletes, not machines. So, it is okay to make mistakes. We all have our weaknesses. We all get uncomfortable sometimes. Make errors. There are bad days,” Italy’s 25 Said the year-old Marta Bassino, who won the giant slalom title of the 2021 World Cup. “We are not robots. We’re human when you get right down to it. And so in big events, where the pressures and expectations are high, there’s a lot of tension.”

Radamus River, a 24-year-old Colorado ski racer during these Olympics, described the phenomenon this way: “The pressure is always there, and you live with it, and you let it drive you. But at the same time, you Can’t let it control you, can’t let it control your mindset.”

This is how Shiffrin thinks some people look at some of the participants in the Olympics: “It must be gold otherwise it’s a big disappointment.”

As for Biles, Shiffrin felt, “It went a step further than that. It’s not ‘disappointment’; people didn’t even consider it a possibility. And what I know from that kind of pressure is this: It’s easy to win.” No. Ever.”

Get over it all, she continued, and the games themselves “are not really an enjoyable process.”

Yes, Shifrin conceded, there are wonderful snippets. Memories to cherish for a lifetime. And, yes, they make everything “worth it”.

“But it’s not rainbows and sunshine and butterflies and everything that people say,” Shiffrin said. “They’re like, ‘Wow, looks like this was so much fun!’ And you’re like, ‘Okay, it was fun crossing the finish line and for the next five seconds, look at the green light (indicating fastest time) and figure it out. That was a funny thing.’ And the rest of the day – the rest of the day – was really, really very stressful and uncomfortable.”


Associated Press Sports Writers Pat Graham in Copper Mountain, Colorado, and Andrew Dampf in Modena, Italy, contributed to this report.


More Associated Press Olympics: and


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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