THEY DID IT! The first Olympic Gold Medal for the USA in nordic skiing! A fantastic performance along with amazing honesty and vulnerability about the work, preparation and mental grit and fortitude required to get there. Jessie admitted the undeniable - that "failure" is right there - but so is the greatest opportunity. She was just knocking on the door.
Please take a few moments to read her own words HERE.
Just a few of my favorites from her article:
Why do we push you to set goals at RSR? To write them down and say them out loud...?
"It can be incredibly hard, goal setting. It takes guts to admit that you want something so badly it hurts, and then put everything you have towards getting it. It stings when you don’t get what you want. It can be overwhelming when you DO get it. And sometimes it scares me when I realize just how much of my being I’ve committed to this crazy sport that I love."
Because at RSR we want you to be accountable and be brave in the face of fear stepping outside your comfort zones.
"I want to know that I was brave enough to want it."
In rowing, it's not about talent - it's all about hard work. Seek Challenge - Expect Discomfort - Embrace Work.
"Because there are no secrets in this sport, only hard work. Hard work in training. Hard work in being a good teammate. Hard work in recovery. Hard work in fierce positivity. And hard work in keeping alive that ridiculous optimism!"
Why do we teach and coach emotional management?
"At the end of my career, what will matter most will not be the results I had or how I celebrated, but the friends I made and the kind of person I was moments after a really bad race...To recognize that while someone always has the best day, someone else had the worst day, and to not let your attitude hours after the race reflect how you performed."
Why do we ask you to define "success" at RSR? It's not about the MEDALS...remember - the goal is to shake the hand of your competitors knowing that you gave your best effort, as did they, and as a result of those efforts, you both gave more.
"When I cross the finish line, be able to look back and honestly say I gave it everything that I had...The one thing I CAN control, however, is showing up to that start line knowing that I’ve done everything in my power to be ready to go."
And after the race...how do you know? As your coach, I don't tell you, but YOU know.
"So for me, success at the Games will be decided in those moments after I cross the finish line; lungs burning, legs on fire, lactic acid making me want to throw up. When I’m lying in the snow, that’s when I take my 10 seconds to think back on the race and decide if I had “success” or not – meaning, if I dug deeper than I thought possible, raced with courage, and held nothing back. If I can finish my races and know that I did that, I will have found success."
And at RSR - why is it all about ATTITUDE and EFFORT? Not just because that is what you control but also, those are the life-skills that are fully transferable and in my opinion, the most important.
"the one thing that’s never been said to me is “gee, if only you’d TRIED HARDER”. And I’m proud of that. I know how to suffer, and I know how to dig deep into the pain cave. In time, I’ll clean up my technique. I’ll keep getting better at mid-race strategy. I’ll figure out how to stop my hyper flexible elbows from freaking everyone out. But from day one, I’ve known how to push past my limits, and race with guts. That’s one of my biggest goals at the Games…to race like I’ve got nothing to lose. And I’m going to swing for the fences."
And perhaps, the most IMPORTANT goal she states? HAVE FUN!
Many congratulations to Jessie and Kikkan - thank you for your honesty, your effort and spirit and thank you for being amazing role models for all of us especially the young girls watching you. Thank you.