Monday, July 14, 2008

Olympic Doubt

This morning I was a little panicked when I woke up. The thought that I am actually leaving for Beijing and the OLYMPIC GAMES felt very real and it freaked the shit out of me.

All of a sudden, as I turned off my alarm clock, a million thoughts and questions came rushing in to my fresh and recharged morning mind.

Am I ready?
Will I be able to deliver the performance I need to?
Will I be able to withstand the Olympic pressure?
Have I worked hard enough?
Have I done enough routines?
Do I need more time?
Will my legs hold up?
Is my difficulty high enough?
What if I don't win again?
What if I mess up during the qualification?
What if I can't get my second vault?
What if I forget how to do gymnastics?

At one point I actually lied there and contemplated just continuing to lie there until someone came and saved me from the nightmare. Would I have stayed in my bed until the 26th and missed my flight? Probably not. I hope someone would get concerned by that point!

I guess I am feeling the crunch. The expectation I have of myself and the pressure of the Olympic Games are beginning to build. We are less than a month away. It just doesn't quite seem like the time line is real. Is someone playing a really bad joke on me? Did someone change all of my clocks and calendars? Where the hell did the past month go?

It's very hard to express my mind set right now. It's almost as if every moment that I am not in the gym and proving to myself that I can do gymnastics, I am doubting my ability. I am only getting relief and confirmation when I am physically there and going through the motions. I have found myself worrying about the thoughts that are going to go through my head when it's time to compete. I want to be focused and prepared and not wishing that I could escape the moment and run away and hide. But honestly, that's how I feel sometimes right now. I am so scared that my physical, emotional and mental selves are not going to align at the moment I need them to. What if I completely destroy my performance? What if I stand there waiting to compete and I don't trust the work I have done? What if I let the sharks attack and I am left with severed limbs and a devastating experience?

I think these thoughts are normal.

Um, am I normal?

I am at least going to try and convince myself that these thoughts are normal. I would assume that every Olympic Champion who broke both of their legs 10 months before the upcoming Games which are only 24 days away has experienced these thoughts of doubt and anxiety.

Maybe I'm not so normal!

I am just really scared of failing. I've invested so much. I don't want to let myself, my team or my country down.

I knew that this comeback was going to come down to the wire, but it is taking everything I have inside of me right now to not avoid it completely. It's so friggin scary!! It doesn't feel real. Even as I type I can't believe that I will be leaving for the Olympics in 12 more sleeps.

I guess there was a positive to this little freak out. I did get my ass out of bed and I did go to training. Not only was I there, but I was productive and proved to myself that I am almost ready for Olympic competition. I think I am thinking negatively because I am tired, anxious and just ready to write the story. I am so sick of waiting for it all to unfold. I want to be in the moment, compete and stop thinking about everything that could go wrong.

OK, time for a personal therapy favourite.

From this moment on, I will only think of everything great that will happen. I will picture myself having positive thoughts before I compete. I will trust the evidence that I see in training every day. And of course, I will breathe.

Something cool happened to me today. I saw my great friend (and role model!) Clara Hughes while I was leaving the gym and she was cycling home. She asked how I was and I vented a bit about everything. She, being the incredibly grounded person that she is, always has such awesome perspective. She reminded me of the victory that I have already achieved by overcoming my injury and she reminded me that I am freaking out a bit because I am a competitor and I really care. It's true. I really do care about my performance and maybe freaking out 24 days before the Games start is jut a mechanism that I use in order to get myself prepared. I'm gonna go with that at least! Life has no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason and Clara just cycled past me today as a reminder that I am on the right path and I am exactly where I need to be, stressin' out and all!

I told my coach, Tony, today that I don't want this to be stressful. I don't want it to freak me out. I don't want to approach days with fear and worry. I don't want it to feel like the end of the world when everything doesn't feel perfect. I want to enjoy this time. This is something I have worked very hard for and I don't want to kibosh it by being a panicky little freak show. My attitude is mine to control and I need to be positive. I want to be positive. I want to enjoy every second of this experience because it is really special.

When it all comes down to it, not everyone gets to lay in their bed and question whether or not they will be ready for the Olympics. Should I consider myself lucky?? I think so.



Dylan Glynn said...

Well it sounds like you've got this stuff pretty much undercontrol now, but regardless I'll still suggest you pick up a copy of "a new earth" don't be turned off by all the hype, and that flight to beijing is going to be pretty long so why not?

TCO said...

the solution to worry is work

Dez said...

We all have days/sleeps like these. I can only hope you hear all of our support for you. our fear is ours to give us the energy to push forward. clear your mind of doubt and replace it with VICTORY.

Anonymous said...

anonymous sr. lady

Kyle, you are strong, you've already done the impossible more than anyone thought,even yourself, your coaches say you are ready to rumble or you would not be on the team. Whether you win a medal or not, the fact that you will be competing for my books your fortitude, your dedication, your patience, your diligence you have already won! Just do your best, as I know you will, and let it go and flow. You are already a hero to Canada's Olympic team. I'll be rooting for you for sure!

Anonymous said...

Kyle, you've come so far, congratulations. But as you have stated the journey is not over!

You have nothing to lose, your already an acomplished athlete, an insperations, and a terrific human being.

Go out to beijing, give it your all, leave nothing behind, no fear, and you'll be at your best no matter what!

Your whole country is behind you, not because we want you to win, but because you already have won, and your victory dance isnt over yet, it climaxes at Beijing, we are all very proud of you, and are behind you every step of the way.

Your doing great... im looking forward to you showing the world what you are made of!

-Brant Prunkl-

Sam Blades said...

Hey Kyle. My thoghts are with you and the team. I am sure that if anyone can tap of the the available resources (internal and external)and suceed it is you.

Take care


Anonymous said...

good luck to you hope everything works out for you medal or not you are incredible