With the Winter Olympics coming to its climax, there are many athletes who had the dream of making the top step in their chosen sports but didn’t quite make it. It is very easy for people in their position to feel like they have achieved nothing, despite all the hard work they have put in. Perspective is helpful.
The truth is, if you are one of those athletes, you have achieved a level that is beyond the comprehension of most human beings. You have measured yourself against the best of the best. It is crucial for you to take some time to get perspective on that.
Your exit from the team may have come through injury or illness. It may have come through de-selection (justly or unjustly), or maybe it was a self-recognition that you weren’t quite up to the standard. Regardless, the sport you love may be difficult for you to watch or hear about.
The content on this site is here to help you process your experience and to get perspective on what you have achieved. We hope it helps you look forward with peace and positivity regardless of whether you are retiring or aiming to go again.
In the first instance, read the points below and see if any of them resonate with you. Remember that you have time.
- Have the conversations you need to have with your coach, management and team mates.
- Ask the questions that are on your mind and process the answers in your own time.
- Recognise you are moving through a process of loss/grief and feeling good again comes over time. It may take a while so try to be patient.
- Seek professional help from someone who understands your world (a psychologist who is an ex-athlete is a perfect mix). Preferably someone from outside the high performance network you have just been part of.
- Try not to let anger fuel your motivation to return to training and competition. Anger as fuel can only get you so far before it burns out.
- If you are injured, concentrate on getting back to being a functioning human being first and then think about your next athletic challenge.
- Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and include them in the experience you are having.
- Have a strategy for the rest of the competition. Avoidance is a common action (getting away from TV’s, Radios, Internet etc) but you might be surprised at how watching your team mates excel might fill you with pride that you pushed them to that level to compete there. It might spur you on to nail it the next time. Be open to it.
- Over time, evaluate your performance and selection. Examine what you would do differently if you had the time again. If there is nothing you would or could do differently then points 1 and 2 are very important to consider.
- Keep exercising. You are programmed to move and exercise helps keep you calm and balanced. Try some different forms of exercise. Try new sport where you can have fun learning a new skill. Exercise helps the way you feel.
- You are not the first and won’t be the last to experience this. It is normal to feel disenchanted. Allow yourself that feeling.