BUILD OLYMPIAN MENTAL STRENGTH
The athletes on the podium aren’t just supremely fit physically – they also train to develop the resilience to combat anything that threatens their success. That’s one of the secrets behind Team GB’s Olympic heroics, and a new book reveals how they become
What does an athlete require to achieve Olympic success? Effective training and good diet are givens, as are many kinds of support, from financial to emotional. But there are many pieces to the puzzle when you’re aiming to reach the pinnacle and one of the most important is resilience – the ability to overcome obstacles, difficulties, negative thinking and anything else that might stand between you and triumph.
When Team GB’s organisers were preparing Britain’s medal hopefuls for the Rio Games in 2016, resilience was one of the key areas the coaches and managers focused on. This meant different things for different sports and individual athletes, but the emphasis was on taking knocks and coming back stronger. It’s one of the reasons GB smashed its medal target and finished second in the Rio medal table with 67 – and, unprecedentedly, won more medals than they had in the previous Olympics at home.
In his book The Talent Lab, award-winning sports writer Owen Slot explains how some of Britain’s Olympians have learned to see off the impediments life placed in front of them – and turned resilience into medals.