Over dinner last night I caught a glimpse of the news from Torino, Italy. Michelle Kwan had just withdrawn from the Olympics. I felt bad for her. She’s a great champion who, as fate would have it, will never win Olympic gold.
Nine times a national champion. Five times a world champion. Twice the favorite to win Olympic gold. Twice beaten at the last minute by the “underdog.”
I tend to get incredibly emotional whilst watching the Olympics and other great sporting events. Tears come to my eyes when I see someone win. Tears come to my eyes when I see someone I want to win, lose. And I can tell you, when I watched Michelle Kwan’s press conference last night, when she announced her withdrawl due to injury, I really felt for the girl.
Just a few weeks ago, on a plane ride home from China I found out about her injury and how she might not make the Olympics. She was being petitioned in as a member of the team after missing the Nationals because of her injury. In an interview she said that she would withdraw from the competition if she realized she couldn’t go on and that someone could skate better.
As I read this I didn’t think it would happen. It did.
I happen to be someone who knows what it is like to train for years and come up short. I also know what it is like to win, and win big. And I know that there seems to be a reason for everything – and as heartbreaking as this is for Michelle – she will emerge as a stronger, more successful person if she reaches deep inside and pulls the benefit from this experience.
This is something my father taught me to do when I felt the sting of defeat as a young wrestler. He always told me that I had a way of turning a loss into a triumph; that I always come back stronger after defeat; and that I could rise above the pain if I wanted to.
With the tenacity Michelle Kwan has shown for so many years, I’m sure she’ll be back. Not as a figure skater. But in some other capacity that will benefit herself and others in an even bigger way.
Nine times a national champion Five times a world champion. Twice an Olympic medalist. That’s a career worth having.
The key thing is getting over the heartache, the frustration and the hurt of defeat. I found solace years ago in the teachings of Dr. Maxwell Maltz – author of the 30 million copy best-seller, Psycho-Cybernetics. And my training regimen, Combat Conditioning, have served me well.
The key thing is staying creatively involved in something that keeps your spirit alive – and keeps you growing as a human being, reaching for the best that is within you.
Michelle, you’re a champion, through and through. End of statement.
Kick ass – take names!