At the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi this week, reigning world champion ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson will attempt to be airborne for one hundred-fifty yards or more. That’s one-and-a-half football fields, a jump of Olympic proportions!
Should Hendrickson medal, the nineteen-year-old will realize feelings of intense elation. While joy and giddiness can’t help but follow during her turn at the podium, Olympic athletes from previous years describe a flood of feelings during and after their wins as well, from tears of joy to dizzying speechlessness.
Winter Games 2010 Downhill Skiing Champion, Lindsey Vonn, overcome with emotion said at her ceremony, “I have wanted to accomplish this (holding up the gold medal) since the day I met Pikaboo Street when I was nine years old.”
Right After the Event: Feeling Weird or “Surreal”
Olympic hopefuls train for years to put in the performance of a lifetime in just one afternoon. Their training years are filled with pride, but also self-doubt and uncertainty.
While athletes share that they spend time imagining winning a medal and standing on the podium amidst the roars of fans, they also spend an equal amount of time envisioning crushing disappointment should they be defeated. Training for the winter games or any world-class contest can be quite a rollercoaster of feelings.
When an athlete does win a medal, certainty has finally arrived. As much as he or she craved (prayed for, begged for) the win, the reality can be hard to grasp. Several Olympic gold medal winners admit feeling surreal, weird and strange both during the competition and right after. Cheers of the crowd in the background become white noise as contestants focus on their performance (often on par with their physical superiority). Once the win occurs, they can even become disoriented.
The rapid shift from being an unknown to the center of attention can be a tough adjustment for the brain.
Long jumper Greg Rutherford, who won the gold medal in London’s summer 2012 Olympics, attests to the mental whiplash that can occur.
Athletes Rutherford admired from afar suddenly approach to congratulate him. He explains how he felt when Track and Tield AND Bobsled superstar Lolo Jones “came up to me and said, ‘Well done, Greg’ and I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to her in my life. I’m just trying to come to terms with it all, but it’s a strange feeling.”
Many unknowns before the 2014 winter games will probably return home with an endorsement contract from Nike, Oakley and many other Olympic partners. The world definitely needs its heroes!
Why Athletes’ Families Must Go to the 2014 Winter Games
Given the feeling of surreality that follows a win, during Sochi’s winter games don’t be surprised to see coaches and other handlers leading dazed athletes from the field. Shifting gears from an adrenaline-fueled competition to responding to reporters and trainers can take some time.
Often, the gold medal winner doesn’t let his or her guard down until meeting family. Then, safely in the arms of those they love, they let their emotions flood them. Getting a promising skier, skater or snowboarder to the Olympics takes sacrifice and hard work for the entire family.
On the Podium?
While the summer games medals are presented directly after finishing the event, winter games ceremonies are typically at night after all events have been completed. Because of this schedule, winter games participants have at least a few hours to absorb the reality of their wins.
On the podium, their pride can take a backseat to a sense of thankfulness for everyone who has helped them over the years. You might also be surprised that they experience intense relief that their participation is over. While training, athletes have to let many relationships, careers and hobbies fall by the wayside. Finishing this chapter of their lives gives them a sense of closure and satisfaction and well as excitement about what they will do next. When watching the award ceremonies for the 2014 winter games, try to see what emotion you recognize on winners’ faces.
Give Your Loved Ones the Medals and Trophies That Send them Soaring!
You don’t have to participate in the Winter Olympics to feel an intense sense of achievement. Hard work well rewarded is often repeated. When your loved ones, friends and team members achieve, show them that the world is watching (or the rest of the school or company anyway.)
Call Crown Awards today at 800-227-1557 to speak with one of our friendly representatives about getting the most meaningful awards for when athletic, academic and career goals are met. Our wide selection of trophies, awards and medals come at the lowest prices. Order online in minutes, too!