What Does it Take to Be an Olympian?

I'm fascinated by successful people and their journeys. I'm constantly interviewing them to find out what they have in common and what the rest of us can learn. My current fascination is Olympians. If the Olympics left you wanting just a little more, read on to learn about some of the world's top athletes who captivate us every 2-4 years.

From interviewing Erin Cafaro, Gold medal rower, I learned that you have to do it your way, but you should also be smart about it. Since she wasn't the biggest or strongest rower, she made up for it with sheer power, which brought her success. It took its toll, however, and she had to change her style to be more efficient with every stroke to avoid injury.

From Peter Vidmar, Gold medal gymnast, I learned that fortuitous circumstances, using your strengths, hard work, dedication, and visualizing the future are golden. So are family, friends, and coaches. 

Ashley Caldwell, a freestyle skier (think big air, lots of twists and flips) taught me that plans can change in an instant, so you've got to be flexible. She has some phenomenal insight on being flexible, rehabbing from two serious injuries, navigating the mental aspect of top performance, and balancing a personal life with Olympic training. 

Christopher Fogt's story, a member of the Team Night Train bobsled team to win Bronze, is hard to put into words. His dedication to the country, the Army, his faith, his team, and being the best are inspiring. I'll have his audio interview available shortly here

Two-time Olympic swimmer Kara Lynn Joyce is one of the most phenomenal people I've met. Humble despite her accomplishments (not only an Olympian, but also an 18 time NCAA champion and the subject of a documentary along with Missy Franklin - Touch the Wall), extremely authentic, and fun, she gave me things to ponder for years. Unfortunately, I interviewed her in a coffee shop so the audio is terrible with lots of background noise. It will take some time to get a decent audio I can use to share her story.

Five-time Olympic medalist John Naber warped my mind about competing against yourself and elevated my thinking about the purpose for the Olympics. His respect for the Games, sportsmanship, and ethics is unparalleled. 

And this wasn't even all of them. Chantae McMillian is tough as nails, Hannah Hardaway became an Olympian just doing what she loved, Kyle Alcorn can run for about a hundred miles, Sarah Hendrickson is the perfect spokesperson for USA Skiing, Susan Williams loves being a mom and using her competitive background to inspire others to live better, and Jessica Smith overcame a horrific injury. Plus, I also interviewed a future Olympian so you can follow her story - Sammy Achterberg.

As I reflect on their stories I feel a sense of urgency to hurry and edit the interviews and print the transcripts so you can learn, in their own words, what it takes to be an Olympian. More than that, I'm excited for you to learn what it takes to be a champion in any area of life, especially those most important to you. And these athletes can definitely shed some light on that.

If you'd like to learn more about these Olympians and listen to/read their stories as they become available, continue checking the website or sign up for updates here (scroll to the bottom of the page).