Monday, March 03, 2008

No. I will not DEFEND my Olympic title, but I sure am an intelligent individual and very proud of my daily efforts!

This past couple of weeks have been a little crazy. Apparently the Olympics are starting to come onto the media's radar and everyone wants a piece. I am more than happy to accommodate most requests, but I am just going to have to be smart in the way I manage it. I say this because I am starting to feel a little lack of balance, control and the ability to say NO. I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I also have to remember that my main priority right now is training.

Many days in the past week or so, I have found myself so tired of talking about my injury and the way training has been going that I just don't want to think about it anymore! The thing is, I need to keep fueling positive energy and thoughts into the recovery process. These are just a little hard to find when you feel drained.

One question that keeps coming up during interviews is this (surprise surprise):

Are you going to be able to DEFEND your Olympic title?

I will answer that one right now...NO.

No, I will not be able to defend it because it is not something that can be defended. I don't have to give it back. No one is going to come to my house and take the medal away. Once an athlete is an Olympic Champion, they are an OC forever. There is no defense, just an opportunity to win again. My friend and fellow Canadian Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling, Daniel Igali, pointed this out to me. Great outlook. Makes me feel more at ease. Thanks dude.

So starting right now, I don't want to talk about a defense. I know it makes for a pressure filled story, but pressure is the last thing I need right now! I want to talk about how the possibility of winning AGAIN is my motivator. I want to talk about my team and how incredible they are. I want to talk about how huge of a victory it will be to compete in Beijing. I want to talk about how I am aiming to have my BEST performance. Typically Canadian, I know, but that was my goal in Athens and it is my goal for Beijing. Control what you can gymnastics, that is ONLY your preparation and your own personal performance.

Over the past couple of weeks I have done interviews and photo shoots for McLean's, Go! Magazine, Hello! Mag, CBC Sports, Sportsnet and tons of National and local news and TV. Some of the photo shoots have been fun and made me feel like a celeb (I joked that it's a good thing I am already in Rehab! All I need now is to write a song, do some drugs and win 5 Grammy's!). Below are a couple of photos from the Hello! Mag shoot:

During one particular interview with CBC, the producer (Karen, who reads this, so a big HELLO to you!) asked me some awesome questions. At one point I found myself talking about my intelligence and how I am proud of my efforts to this point. While I was saying it, it felt numbingly weird. I couldn't believe those words were coming out of my mouth. "I think I am an intelligent person" and "I am proud of myself" are not things that I commonly say out loud. I don't think many people do. But my question is: Why did it feel weird and why don't we say these types of things out loud more often?

When you say such a self-proclaiming statement, like "I am intelligent", you feel a little you are standing there buck naked in front of the reporter!

I think we, as a society, have been conditioned to be humble and modest. We are told that it's bad etiquette to talk highly of ones self. We are afraid that others will feel intimidated by us, put off by our confidence and not accepting of our belief in ourselves. Seriously, how many times have you said out loud that you are intelligent or that you are really proud of yourself?

Try it...

Weird huh?!

I am one of the worlds most humble human beings. I actually loathe people who are conceited. It's one of my pet peeves when someone talks about themselves and everything that they are so awesome at! Shut the *#%& up!

But you know what? I think it's about time that we start being proud of ourselves, recognizing our efforts, focusing on our strengths (don't forget about your weaknesses...but don't obsess about them) and giving ourselves compliments.

We need to start focusing more on what we CAN do and less on what we CAN NOT do.

We need to be proud of the effort we put forth and stop focusing on what we could have and should have done, but didn't.

I commit this crime often. I have a hard time being proud of myself and recognizing my strengths. I focus on my weaknesses and always believe that I can be better than I am. To some, this could be considered a strength. I consider it a deterrent. It's negative thinking. It is focusing more on the HAVE NOTS than on the HAVES.

It's very liberating to look at yourself, your actions and your efforts and be content. To come home and know that you did everything you set out to do on that day is a great feeling. I want to try and live my life like this every day.

So, off I go, to conquer the world with my intellectual powers and to put forth an effort that I will be proud of! (I am such a dork)



Sony Keys Gawley said...

You are a briliant writer! You make everyone think. You help me thing differently about sport and life in general. Thanks Kyle

Phil said...

Sometimes we don't have much of a conduit to voice our opinions and rarely with much inertia. I do hope the games are an embarressing fiasco for the Chinese without too much suffering in the harsh but expected retaliation to follow. For the athletes, mostly rich white children playing their games, I do hope they can suck it up and miss a game with a thought for others.