When I was little, I was always convinced that Olympians had super powers. They seemed to emit a light, a presence, that was full of confidence and strength that I thought could only be explained by some kind of nuclear incident. I even dressed up as my favorite super hero, Summer Sanders, for Halloween 4 years in a row. In my mind, Olympians were about as similar to me as someone from planet Krypton.
I often get asked what the secret is to becoming an Olympian. It’s like people think that I’m going to pull out some top-secret file folder that will tell them the secret formula to becoming fast and strong. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer as easy as eating a PB&J every day. I don’t have an answer at all besides hard work, dedication, and an unwavering belief in yourself.
I’ve spent enough time now with Olympians from many generations and many different sports to tell you that when we all get together, the biggest similarity is a passion for our sport, a powerful belief in that we are strong enough to handle anything thrown our way, and a gratitude for the opportunities we’ve had.
These attributes weren’t born into us; it comes from thousands of hours of practice where we learned that no matter how much it hurts or how hard it gets, we survive and thrive. We come out of that 12,000-meter practice a stronger person. We come out of that horrible race full of mistakes a smarter person. And we come out of injury, exhaustion, and pain a better person. Through the constant struggle, our passion only deepens and our love for our sport grows. Failure is only fuel to the fire.
Chloe Sutton - Sharing my experience of 20 years of competitive swimming including 8 years on the National Team and 2 Olympic Games.