Olympic Gold medalist, Helen Maroulis, became the first American woman to win wrestling gold when she defeated Japan's 16-time world champion and 3-time gold medalist. On the outside, she epitomes fearlessness. On the inside.. she's afraid.
Growing up, she was so timid that coaches asked her mother politely to not bring her back. Failure after failure, until her brother needed a wrestling dummy. From there on she found her calling.
Fast forward to this past Olympic games at Rio where she won Gold, she still had crippling anxiety attacks. Before the opening ceremonies her journal entry read:
“I can’t stop crying. I’m making myself sick. For the first time in my life, I explained to Terry [my Coach] what my anxiety was like. What it felt like to be afraid of irrational things. I was always afraid to tell him, because I was afraid he wouldn’t think I was mentally capable of a gold medal. And at the Olympics, I didn’t want to look weak.
He said that I was strong to reach out and talk to him. He also said when we are hyper-sensitive to everything, it’s our bodies way of preparing for battle.”
My journey brought me to a definitive realization: We live in an illusion that champions are fearless, and that any admission to the contrary is defined as weakness.
This article is well worth the 10 minutes it takes to read it -> http://on.si.com/2ezfxa4