Thursday, September 12, 2013

The 4-Year Journey

The end of July was my 4-year anniversary at the Olympic Training Center.  I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a resident athlete for so long. During my time at the OTC I have seen many athletes come and go and to be one of the few still standing after 4 years is such an honor.  This facility has been my rock for so long and I am happy to be able to call it my home.   Deciding to dedicate my life to the athlete lifestyle was not an easy choice for me to make, but it has turned out to be one of the smartest decision I have ever made.

Many people don’t know that my stay at the training center almost got cut short after 6 months.  It wasn’t a performance issue, but an issue of confidence.  I wasn’t sure I had what it took to succeed in the Training Center environment.  I started training almost double the amount of times I did back home and the level of coaching I received was just something I was not prepared for mentally.  After my first 2 months of training I started to break down physically.  I had never had been asked to train while my body was hurting.  Having to push through pain started to break me down mentally.  After about 4 months of hardest training I had ever done I cracked and became depressed.  I was so depressed that over the course of a month I slept 3 hours a night and dropped 12 kilos of body weight.  My training was suffering tremendously. I had mentally given up on my Olympic dream, but there was still hope for me.

December of 2009 I ran into someone who I never thought would change my life.  I was back home for Christmas break from the OTC and on the way to my workout ran into a guy named Mike I had played football with in high school.  We hated each other with a passion all of high school and at that moment I was pretty bummed to be approaching him on the street.  Mike was a talented athlete and everyone just knew he would be a professional athlete in some sport down the road.   I decided to be an adult and ask mike how life was since high school graduation.  He began to tell me how he decided not to go to college and that he was on his way to go smoke weed with some friends.  That moment changed me forever.  Mike was one of the smartest most athletic kids at my school and just threw his talents away to smoke weed with some friends everyday.  It was then I decided I wasn’t going to through away what had been given to me.  I was given the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest athletes that had ever lived.

  I happily returned the next year to the Olympic Training Center after fighting a lot of demons on the subject.  I came back more motivated and ready to take on all the challenges that were laid out in front of me.  Three and half years later I can proudly say there is no better place for an athlete to train.  I want to take a moment to thank all the people who believed in me and supported me during the first 4 years of my Olympic journey.   I also want to thank those who are still pushing me to be the best lifter and person I can be.  I look forward to what the next 4 years of my Olympic Dream have to offer.