The Olympics just ended not too long ago, and I’m not ashamed to say that I watched a lot of the Olympic coverage. It only happens once every four years, so when it does come along, I make sure to tune in. There are some sports like basketball and golf that you can catch on a pretty regular basis during the rest of the year, but I like watching the summer sports the best. Track and field, diving, and beach volleyball are particularly special to me since the athletes don’t compete in these sports for the majority of the year. And one of my favorite of these types of sports to watch is gymnastics.
Seeing those young women doing all of those flips and turns is jaw-dropping to say the least. Since I’ve never done gymnastics, all I can do is sit there and marvel at their abundance of talent. And hearing about all of the hard work that they put in in order to get to the Olympics is even more inspiring. One story that stuck with me the most was Aly Raisman’s journey to Rio.
In 2012, she was also a part of the American women’s gymnastics team. As part of the “Fierce Five,” she helped lead the American team to a first place victory in the team final. That year, she also received a bronze medal on the Balance Beam and first place for her floor routine. Even with all of these victories, Raisman still received a bit of a devastating blow when it came to the Individual All Around. When it was time to award the medals, Ally was initially tied for the bronze medal with Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina, but after the tie-breaker, she ended up losing that medal to the Russian gymnast.
After the events of the London Olympics unfolded, Aly wasn’t sure if she wanted to go back to the Olympics in 2016. She thought that she had already reached her peak gymnastic abilities and because of this she didn’t want to compete in the next Olympics, but in 2014, she changed her mind and decided that she wanted to try and go to Rio. But, just because Aly wanted to come back, didn’t mean that her coach was going to let her do that so easily. He didn’t want to let her come back if she really wasn’t serious about it, so she had to prove herself to him. She couldn’t even touch a piece of gymnastics equipment for a year. She could only work on her conditioning, strength, and cardio.
Her coach knew that it didn’t matter whether or not he wanted her to go back to the Olympics because he wasn’t the one who was going to be competing. She needed to believe in herself enough to know that she was capable of making it to Rio. And that is why she had to prove not only to her coach, but to herself that she was ready to go back to the Olympics. So after a year of doing everything but gymnastics, her coach agreed to help her on her quest to go back to the Olympics, where she ended up winning gold in the Team All Around and silver medals in the Floor Exercise and the Individual All Around.
In life, sometimes you’re going to have people that are going to support you, and other times you’ll find yourself in a position where you can only count on yourself. Aly had someone in her corner, but she still had to prove to herself that she wanted to go to the Olympics. Even if she didn’t have her coach there to eventually support her, she would still have had to find a way to support and believe in herself enough to get herself back to the Olympics.
It’s nice to have people there to support you, but since that’s not always a guarantee you have to learn to be the one person who is never willing to give up on you. You can’t let not having people in your corner prevent you from going after what you want. You have to be your own biggest cheerleader. And if you don’t have people cheering for you then you have to cheer for yourself even louder so that you have the support that you need to achieve your goals.
Positive thinker, it doesn’t matter if everyone you know has stopped believing in you. They aren’t the ones that are going to get you to reach your dreams. You are. So always believe in yourself no matter what. You have the power to make your dreams come true. The first step is making the decision to believe in yourself. Don’t give up on you!
And Remember, ”A lot of people will give up on you. Just make sure you’re not one of them!”