Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Handling Pressure in Beijing



SWIMMING

“Growing up, even though breaststroke was my worst stroke, I wanted to swim it. I wanted to race in it. I didn’t care. I like challenges.”

--Michael Phelps, responding to questions about the pressure he felt when having to meet the challenge of an 2008 Olympic medley race.

WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS

"I just tried to stay in my own little box. my own little world and ignore what was going on around me. I knew there were things happening around me that I couldn't control, so I really tried to stay focused. Sometimes, I talk to myself to keep my mind busy."

--Shawn Johnson of the USA gymnastics team and reigning women's gymnastics champion, following a qualification round in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, during which injuries on the team put additional pressure on the remaining members. Johnson, with 62.725 points, helped the USA team finish 1-2 in the individual all-around to make the finals.

"I feel like the whole day was crazy, but we just proved to everyone that we could handle anything. I think China probably thought this was good because we showed some weakness. But this brought us together even more and made us even stronger."

"It made me a little more nervous because I knew that we had only four girls competing now. Our team was slowly dwindling down, and I definitely felt like I put a little bit more pressure on myself to do better."

--Alicia Sacramone, USA gymnast who qualified for the finals in the vault, discussing handling the pressure of competing and dealing with the favored Chinese team.
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