Get Tough! How Olympic Athletes Stay Calm Under Pressure

We’re a week into the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and we’ve watched many Olympic athletes achieve their goals and ascend the podium to accept their medals. With the amount of pure talent and dedication these athletes put into making it to the Olympics, we can’t help but feel inspired.

But it’s not just the training that makes these athletes Olympians, it’s a also a mixture of following a healthy diet, finding ways to de-stress, and hoping for a little luck.

We caught up with three Olympians before the start of the Games and asked them what gets them ready for competition:

Erin Hamlin, 27
Event: Luge
Lives in: Remsen, NY
Trains in: Lake Placid, NY

Editor’s note: On February 11, 2014, Erin Hamlin finished third in the singles luge event, becoming the first American athlete to win an Olympic medal in the event.

Erin Hamlin (credit Kimberly Cook, Woman's Day Magazine)(Credit: Kimberly Cook)

What’s your go-to snack or fuel for competition?
“Trail mix and granola bars are my go-to. I also usually try to have a piece of fruit or something to get a quick boost of sugar or carbs that is light and won’t fill me up too much. I always try to get a solid breakfast in (we often race in the morning) that isn’t too heavy. Oatmeal when I have it or boiled eggs. A good balance but a good bit of protein to hold me over and carbs to get me moving!”

Do you have a pre-competition superstition or lucky charm?
“I always put my right glove on first; not really sure why, it just started happening. I also have a luge sled charm necklace that I always wear and I wouldn’t say it is a “lucky charm.” I know the world won’t end if I happen to not have it, but I always wear it, more or less to represent what I have accomplished and my potential. It was given to me by friends of the family, who also own the jewelry business that makes them.”

What’s one way you de-stress before a major competition?
“I will often just try to chill out if I have time in the morning (if I am competing at a later time in the day). Once in a while, I do a little bit of yoga if it fits the schedule/situation. I like yoga, but don’t always have time for it on race day. Often we race first thing in the morning so we end up heading right out to the track. Once there, I walk the track to take a last look at all the details, curves and conditions, most of the time listening to music, to kind of get in the zone and get focused. That definitely de-stresses me a bit and makes it easy to feel like it’s just another day at the track.”

Devin Logan, 20
Event: Freeskiing
Lives and trains in: Park City, Utah

Editor’s note: On February 11, 2014, first-time Olympian Devin Logan finished second in the women’s ski slopestyle event.

Devin Logan 2014 (credit Sarah Brunson)(Credit: Sarah Brunson)

What’s your go-to snack or fuel for competition?
“The night before competition I like pasta and protein. It definitely helps fuel me during the next day for competition. Typically in the morning, I will go light for breakfast with yogurt, fruit, and a piece of whole grain toast and peanut butter. Then for lunch I will splurge a little bit more with something like a burrito.”

Do you have a pre-competition superstition or lucky charm?
“I’m not really a superstitious person at all, but I enjoy watching ’30 Rock’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ on Netflix.

What’s one way you de-stress before a major competition?
“After a competition, it’s nice to get together with my friends for a nice meal. I really try to keep everything in perspective. Skiing is fun and that is why I do it and why I continue to do it, I am extremely fortunate that I am able to do something that I love for a living. I don’t take that for granted.”

Jamie Greubel, 30
Event: Bobsled
Lives and trains in: Lake Placid, NY

Editor’s note: Women’s bobsled events begin on February 18, 2014.

Jamie Greubel (USBSF, credit Damian Battinelli)(Credit: Damian Battinelli)

What’s your go-to snack or fuel for competition?
“I always like to make sure I am properly fueled and hydrated the day of a race. I drink Shaklee Performance Pure Hydration drink, eat a big breakfast, and then make sure I have healthy snacks for in between heats of the race. KIND Bars are a healthy and quick snack for staying fueled during the race. I also like PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts for a little caffeine.”

Do you have a pre-competition superstition or lucky charm?
“I don’t have a superstition or lucky charm, but I always do a short warm up and very light lifting as part of my pre-competition routine. It helps get me moving and my body ready to perform at my best during the race.”

What’s one way you de-stress before a major competition?
“For me, having my things organized and being prepared and confident in what I am doing relieves a lot of stress before a major competition.”

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