A Message for Future Olympians
A few days ago, the Olympic flame was extinguished and the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics officially closed. The end of these Games, however, meant figuratively the start of a new cycle. For many athletes the days following the return from Korea meant the start of the journey to the next Olympics. For the youngest ones, who watched the Games from home, cheering and getting emotional for the deeds of their idols, the dream lies further, maybe in 2026. Kids around the globe have been inspired by the power of sport and these very days are possibly asking their parents to take them to the tracks, or are aiming at their first prone targets, or skiing on the nearby cross country stadium.
For them, the winners of medals are heroes and role models. So we asked these Olympians to leave a message, a tip or a motto for the young ones to follow their example.
Anais Bescond, with three Olympic medals in Korea, left a very personal line as a piece of advice. “L'échec fait tomber le perdant. L'échec inspire le gagnant” (Failure makes the loser fall. Failure inspires the winner). For her, indeed, it was a long journey to success in Pyeongchang and it was not an easy path. 12 months ago, she had a tough time finding space in the French team at the World Championships in Hochfilzen. A disappointing sprint to open her Games did not bode that she could take three medals. But as the strong woman that she is, Bescond transformed the disappointment of a substandard performance into motivation to try harder in the pursuit: the Bronze medal was hers!
Sweden’s Hanna Oeberg was also going through some rough days at the start to this season, with illness forcing her away from training and competitions. Still, she did not stop enjoying biathlon and accepted the setbacks as a part of her journey to become a champion. The day finally arrived in the women’s individual that saw her triumphing. Therefore, her message for future stars was: “Try to find happiness in what you do, the travel is a big part of the goal.”
Maybe that is what she told her sister a few days ago, before the start of the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Otepaa, since Elvira Karin is now the reigning world champion in her category!
Her message was also echoed by Anais Chevalier, Bronze medalist with the French team in the women’s relay. For her, it is also about enjoying what you do: “Do it with pleasure, it is the only way to success”.
Lukas Hofer and Johannes Thingnes Boe were more to the point, as their messages were about work ethics. “Push beyond your limits”, the Italian’s motto, while for the Olympic 20K Individual Champion, the key to success is “Whatever you do, always do your best”.
For Michal Krcmar, who took the Silver medal in the men’s sprint, it is about working hard as well as accepting that at times you will have to suffer in order to find success. “Sport prinasi bolest, ale za ty okamžiky, plne euforie a stesti to stosi!” (Sport brings pain, but it worth do it for these moments, full of euphoria and happiness).
With 3 Gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympic Games, Anastasiya Kuzmina truly knows what it takes to be a successful sports star; for her, it is equally about physical and mental shape. “To be strong in mind and body. Look forward and believe in yourself,” her suggestion for future champions.
From veteran to newcomer, the message is very similar also from Sebastian Samuelsson, who won Silver in the men’s pursuit and Gold with the Swedish men’s relay. “Keep believing in yourself, no matter what. If you fight hard, your time will come. Don’t forget to enjoy!”
Fighting through adversities is also the dictum of Italian Dominik Windisch. With two Bronze medals added to his resumé that includes another Bronze taken in Sochi, he surely never gave up when things were not going his way and that is his advice to youngsters. “Aufgeber gewinnen nie, Gewinner geben nie auf!“ (Quitters never win, winners never give up!)
The same seems to be said by Jakov Fak, who won an Olympic medal 8 years after the first one. In between, a lot did not go well in the Slovenian's sports career, but that did not prevent him from trying over and over again to be back at his best. In Pyeongchang he managed to do so and consequently he meant every word when he said, “Never give up on your dreams and always fight until the end.”
Eventually, it is all about doing what you most deeply cherish, as Laura Dahlmeier said, “Live the life you love.”
More athletes shared their wisdom, so here's the full set of quotes, but to enjoy them fully, they will be featured in the next megazine, coming out soon!
Photos from Christian Manzoni/Nordic Focus and IBU Social Media