It’s the Challenge.


Photograph by Richard Lewisohn

The Challenge…

I must confess there are both positive and negative examples that ran through my mind when I read this. One is as recent as yesterday – a boy at training has been challenged to Synchro with someone he wouldn’t normally be paired with. This is a boy who doesn’t get ‘The Challenge’ he’s not, as Wendy Bruce Martin puts it one of these athletes:

“Athletes that feed on this challenge are hungry to find out if they can add one more turn to their flip. They want to see if they can lift one more kilogram, if they can jump higher, run faster, or throw longer then they did the day before. They crave the satisfaction of knowing their mind and body are being used to their fullest potential. They thrive on working hard to master their sport. They plan how they can be better and they will do what it takes, and more.”

This is a boy who is in a female dominated sport and is comfortable to dominate due to lack of competition. When challenged to match a boy who bounces higher than him, there was no determination to push through, work harder, jump higher and link skills he doesn’t like for the sake of matching his peer. I saw the opposite effect – he challenged the other boy to drop his height by drastically reducing his own height further. Not exactly a positive attitude.
I compared this mentally with this other situation, also yesterday where several of the younger children were learning seat to hands and knees on the trampoline. The children will catch their toes/ toe nails several times on the bed while learning the skill, but not give up. Instead, they’ll keep trying, learn from their mistakes and try to place their feet more carefully. These are the children who will one day be The Challenge athletes…

Get Psyched!

Last March I visited a gym in Colorado, and when I walked in, I was overwhelmed by theamount of talented gymnasts. There were 11 year olds doing skills that were in my routines in the Olympics, and they were doing them like it was no big deal. Most of them trained over 25 hours a week in the gym and were honor students in school. These little phenomenal athleteswere absolutely delightful to watch. As I sat in awe and admired these young kids, I was brought back to memories of my childhood. With a sport that requires so much from a person, what was the reason I did it everyday, and why did I keep doing gymnastics?

Many people have asked me if my parents pushed me into the sport or if they forced me to do gymnastics, because they couldn’t imagine a child wanting to do a sport demands…

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