May 29, 2012

Summer Olympic Trials - by Curt Tomasevicz

This is one of my favorite times of the 4-year Olympic cycle. It’s approximately 620 days until the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi, Russia for the winter Olympics I hope to take part in. But it’s only about 60 days until the Opening Ceremonies in London for the summer games. The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where I train is electric. With the vast majority of the athletes at the training center being summer athletes, it’s easy to see the anticipation growing. For most, this time period of competition is more important than the actual Olympics. This is make or break. To some, these trials will determine if all the sacrifices of the past years have been worth it. I’m fortunate to be able to watch as an outsider and absorb the buzz and excitement knowing that my time will come in just under two years when the winter Olympic trials take place.

Some sports like triathlon, shooting, and wrestling have just completed their Olympic team trials. They know who will be going to London and who will either retire or try again in four years. It’s sometimes easy to pick out those going to London by the look on their faces. It’s a combination of excitement, eagerness, and relief. Other athletes carry a look of discouragement because they simply fell short of their goal.

Some sports like track and field and swimming will have their trials in the next few weeks. These athletes are a little on edge and are extra cautious in everything they do. It would be horrible if they experienced some freak accident that would keep them out of their team trails. So they spend their time training and recovering with no extracurricular golfing or pickup basketball games. They take all precautions necessary to avoid getting sick at the wrong times. I urge all Nebraska farmers to take a few days out of the field and go to Omaha at the end of June to watch the swim trials and see the emotional effort by all the athletes. You’ll see what I mean. The swimmers’ effort and drive is contagious and inspirational.

Some see it as unavoidable, but I don’t like how some athletes can define their career as a success or a failure simply if they made an Olympic team or not. Yes, I’ll admit that the Olympics can change a person’s life in some ways but they cannot (and should not) change who a person is. My heart goes out to those athletes that don’t make their goal, but life is about setting a series of goals and going for the next one. Those that don’t make it should never use the word failure to describe their effort. There is success in learning the life lessons that come with competing in sports, especially at the highest level. It may take time to realize this, but there are more important things in life.

So as the next few weeks determine who will compete for the USA in London, I would like to congratulate all the athletes that gave their best effort to make their goals. To those that made it, I wish you the best and I know you’ll compete proudly for your country. To those athletes that may be forced to watch at home with the rest of us, I hope you hold your head high and know that by your effort, you’ve shaped your character to be the person you will be long after the London games have been forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great perspective Curt, and well said.