Monday, July 21, 2008

Final Olympic Camp

As of today, we have less than one week before we blast off to Beijing on July 26th! I have been on an incredible roller coaster of emotions over the past week, sometimes having 100% belief in myself that I am ready and other times having zero confidence.

We started our final Olympic camp on Thursday and the day went well. It was kind of weird because this camp really blended into the camp that ended a week before. It didn't even feel like I had a week of training at my home gym in between. My first question to myself when I arrived at Calgary Gymnastics Centre was, "Did I actually train last week or was that just my imagination?".

On Friday we had our first model training. I have to admit, it was tough.

At about 2 in the afternoon the dark clouds rolled in over Calgary and there was a gloom in the air. A storm was brewing and I felt it in my core. I am pretty sure everyone else did as well because the gym had an off and tired energy. It was dark, silent and timid. These are not my favourite conditions for getting pumped up and hitting routines! I am the type of person who is very reactive to energy, seasons and weather. Give me a sunny summer day and I will smile and radiate, but take my sunshine away and I feel drained. Maybe I should have been a plant. Life would have been easier and photosynthesis is such a cool trick to be able to perform! I love growth, inspiration and warm hugs and that is what a beautiful summer day conveys to me. When dark clouds roll in it almost feels as if I have to work 2 times as hard to feel alive. I hope that August 9th is one of those days when a breeze rolls in and pushes the smog out of Beijing. Sunny days make me feel unstoppable.

I did manage to hit all of my routines in the model training, but I didn't feel as present and sharp as I have in the past. I felt like I was happy to make it through and I couldn't muster up the desire or energy to make things finitely perfect. I was disappointed at the end of the day because I knew I could do better. I have been working hard and trying my absolute best in training. I haven't been cutting corners and I have been trying to place myself in pressure situations on a consistent basis so that I can deal with it easily and nail my BEST routines when the judge says it's time to go. I don't want to be content with simply hitting, I want to hit and know that it was the best it could be.

I experienced a lot of times on Friday when I got a little frustrated with myself because I didn't seize the moment. My 'Carpe Diem' factor was lacking and it wasn't until I was finished my routine that I looked back on it and thought, "Why didn't I do that better?". Loser.

After having this negative feeling of regret hit my gut more times than I liked, I came to a conclusion that has really changed my attitude and approach to training during this last couple of days. Each time I make a small mistake, I look at it as a growth moment. It is an opportunity for me to recognize that something went wrong, but to also realize that I still have time to apply myself, change it and therefore grow. If I was to continue making the same mistakes, not recognizing them and not changing them then I would conclude that I don't really give a crap. But I really do care. I care so much that I've thought about gymnastics, the Olympics and my routines non stop for the past 'I don't even know how long'. I dream gymnastics (thank god I'm not dreaming about home renovations anymore!), I eat gymnastics (and I am proud to say that I am leaning out exactly according to plan...hello cheekbones, goodbye beer roll (he'll be back soon though!)), I breathe gymnastics (each time I breathe in I try to imagine it being the last deep breathe I take before I compete). Gymnastics is definitely not just a sport. It is a lifestyle and I am embracing it.

On Saturday, the day after our hideous model training, I was tired and just needed to take it easy. I felt a little guilty that my teammates were busting out crazy amounts of work, but I was exhausted and couldn't keep up. If there is one thing I have learned in the past 20 years of doing this sport it would be that listening to your body and trusting your emotions is essential to success. I was drained. It took a lot out of me to fight through Friday's competition and I didn't have much left. So, I stayed in the back ground, did some basic skills and conditioning and recharged my 20 year old gymnastics battery (I think my 26 year old Kyle battery needed some charging too)!

After taking it easy on Saturday, Sunday was one of those days where I felt like nothing could stand in my way. Bring on the Oly's! We had one routine on each apparatus and I breezed through it. Everything felt easy. Maybe a little too easy. Everything felt like it was connected (my mind, body and spirit). I have to admit, I was looking pretty friggin' sharp and I felt motivation, confidence and pure joy just oozing through me!

I love my sport. I love good days. I love it when I have endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm. I love self-confidence. I love trusting myself. I love courage. I love strength. I think most of all, I love believing in myself, believing in my team and believing in the potential that Beijing holds.

Tomorrow (Tuesday the 22nd) we are having our final model training before we leave for China on the 26th. It is going to be at Calgary Gymnastics Centre (at Canada Olympic Park) starting at 5:45pm. Everyone is welcome to come and watch. In fact, I have already invited way too many people. But you know what, I want the gym to be packed. I want there to be energy. I want to feel inspired and I want to show everyone how far I've come and how awesome our team is. I am sick of having 5 people in the audience when we compete. I want to be fired up. We are the best gymnasts in this country. We are going to the Olympics! We have dedicated our lives to this and we deserve to have thousands of people screaming for us when we nail our routines!!!

Tomorrow could be one of the best parts of this entire process. I'm very excited to perform for my friends, family and colleagues. I have an inkling that there might be a few tears in the audience...and some of them will probably be from me. I'm almost at that point where my dreams start coming true and it is a pretty overwhelming feeling. I've come so far and I know that in the next 17 days I will continue to go even further.



mad said...

Your Radio-Canada "olympic profile" is by far the most emotional of them all. See ya on day 1 in Beijing.

Marc Durand

Tracy M said...

Hey Kyle, looking forward to seeing you in action. It's been a long time since I've seen you. We're excited for you and the amazing progress and success you have accomplished.
All the best.

Dez said...

You are Right Where You Need to be. let nothing bad enter your mind. Let all thoughts of positive and focus enter your mind. I will be here in the end. with a Big Hi-Five and Cherish in YOUR GLORY!!!!!!

Altadore Mom said...

My son and I were there last night, and we were both thrilled! He has been grinning ear-to-ear and talking about it non-stop since we left. Everyone was so impressed with the team - it was amazing! Best wishes for a fantastic olympics!!!

Anonymous said...

So sorry that we couldn't come up to watch you yesterday! I wanted to badly! Know that we think of you often, and wish you all the best.
Darci-Lyn and family