I am flying, Soaring through the air. Looking up to the clouds, I hold my breath. Can I do this?
In that moment, my life passes before me. It has all come down to this.
My parents have spent hours and hours driving me to and from training. The money they could have saved, the time they would otherwise not have wasted, sitting through all types of weather, encouraging me through failures and successes alike.
The first time I got selected to compete in a real competition, not just at school – that odd feeling of nerves and excitement, the rush of adrenaline.
Meeting my coach for the first time, he said to me, “You’re good, Lois. You could be great, but do you really, really want it? Are you hungry enough to be the best?”
Friends came and went. It’s not much fun when you can’t go out when you have training, when you have to be in bed early to travel to a competition the next day, or when dinner becomes a bore because you have to watch what you eat to ensure peak physical fitness, in time for the start of the season.
The physiotherapist who had reassured me and worked patiently on my ankle after that fall in training – I’d thought my career was over before it had even begun. I cried for hours, believing my dream had been shattered, but he coaxed me through the pain of rehabilitation, daring me to believe in my dream again.
Then there were the failures and the frustrations. To start with, there were always one or two competitors better than me. I’d trained hard, I’d perfected my technique, everyone said I had it in me to be a winner, but on the big day itself, something would always go wrong. Was it nerves? Was I overly confident? Or was I just not good enough?
Then this past season, things started going right. At our first meet, I beat the hot favourite. I didn’t just beat her; I annihilated her – as well as the rest of the field. Some said it was a fluke, others said I was finally coming into my own, that I was about to fulfil my potential.
But it wasn’t a fluke. She and the other girls, they were fantastic, but something had changed, something inside of me. I finally realised that I had what it takes. I began to really believe in myself, and was finally ready to take on the biggest challenge of my life. This was my time.
So I’ve been focusing. I set myself the goal, and I’ve had help, support and encouragement. Now it all comes down to me.
The glare of the sun as we enter the stadium blocks out all the distractions. Not even watching the other girls go before me will help or hinder me – nothing anyone else does right now will.
A few more minutes to go. I’m prepared, mentally and physically. I look into the crowd. My parents look like they are about to be sick. My coach is writing something on his scorecard, but everything else is a blur. I run through my final routine.
This is it. The crowd gets behind me. The steady clap, clap, CLAP, CLAP becomes louder and louder. It helps to have the home crowd behind you.
London 2012, women’s pole vault final. I am the odds-on favourite, having broken the world record in the heats. Can I do it now? Will I be Olympic champion?
I am flying, Soaring through the air.
|Shazia on 12 August 2010 ,11:42 |
i like reader digest very much thanx for your co-operation
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