#IFeelStrongWhen: Rio 2016 Olympics

July 18, 2016

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“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning, but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” Rio 2016 is around the corner, and the first word that comes to mind when we think of these athletes that have trained hard and prepared well is “strong.” We will hear their stories and watch in amazement as they demonstrate unparalleled feats of human strength.

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Strength comes in many different forms, and Olympic athletes require both a physical and mental toughness. Top athletes find a way for their minds and bodies to work together–They not only prepare in the gym, on the court, or in the pool, but also work mentally to develop the mindset of a champion. Olympians are not immune to injury, mistakes, doubt, pressure, or stress, but they recognize that achieving their goals is a process that requires discipline, action, coaching and adjustment.
In life we are all faced with trials and training, with winning and losing, with distractions and obstacles. You don’t have to be training for a Gold medal to understand the challenges and benefits of achieving physical and mental strength. The Road to Rio has us feeling inspired by these talented athletes and has us thinking about what makes us feel strong.
Throughout the course of Rio 2016, we will be sharing stories about what makes us feel our strongest— we’ve realized the word ‘strength’ isn’t always about winning, and for us is most definitely not about winning an Olympic Gold! We’re kicking off #IFeelStrongWhen by sharing the story of a 2016 Olympic athlete who we think embodies strength in many different ways.

Laurie Hernandez, 16, Gymnastics
“I’m not really looking at just making it [on the Olympic team]. I’m looking at progressing my skills, cleaning up all the execution and just working every day and inching closer and closer, and I know that I will get there if I put my mind to it.”

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Photo Source: Yahoo News
Chances are if you hadn’t heard of Laurie Hernandez a few weeks ago, you have now. Not only is Hernandez the youngest competitor on the gymnastics Team USA, but she is also the first Latina gymnast on the team since 2004. Buzz about this young Olympian has skyrocketed, and it isn’t just because of her incredible skills on the beam and the floor. Laurie Hernandez is humble, hardworking, and focused—but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for her. Hernandez suffered a few serious injuries while training—she fractured her wrist and dislocated her right kneecap all in the same year. Her knee injury was so severe that it required a surgery where a piece of a cadaver’s knee was attached to her own. But this didn’t stop Hernandez, and she continued training to get to Rio. A serious injury like that could really mess up your mental game, but Laurie pushed through. She has been cited describing herself as extremely focused, and always has a positive attitude about her training, her successes, and her setbacks; and Laurie’s strong mind is what makes her a strong athlete.