Gabby Douglas and Missy Franklin Prove to the World That Olympians Are Human


Those who have been watching the Olympics are rooting for Team USA, while knowing that these young athletes are under a lot of pressure at the same time. It would be wrong to assume that some of the young athletes are perfect. Yes, they are Olympic athletes and probably in better shape than most of us, but they are still human, which is what some tend to forget.

The truth is that Olympic athletes are trained to embrace stress. As this article in The Huffington Post points out, Team USA Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto, works with a sports psychiatrist to frame stress positively. For 35-year-old Nieto, this is likely to be his last Olympics. There is more stress, but knowing how to handle it is only half the battle. By harnessing stress, athletes are given an extra dose of adrenaline, which can be helpful. 

For young Olympians, such as gymnast Gabby Douglas or swimmer Missy Franklin, being at the Olympics comes from determination to reach a goal. For gymnast Jordyn Wieber, who did not make the all-around women's gymnastic final, there is a feeling that she lost more than a chance at a medal. For some, corporate sponsorship is used to help Olympic athletes support themselves. There is a sense that athletes like Wieber feel the strain of being pushed to their highest potential in order to get what is most desired: fame and/or money.

Everyone wants to be recognized for something and athletes are in the Olympics for that very reason. However, their training combined with their need to make it as far as they can shows that these athletes are tough. As this article on Active points out, stress in young athletes should be understood from the standpoint of the athletes. For parents and coaches, this means creating a line between pressuring athletes versus helping them achieve their goals. Most Olympic athletes, however, would be nowhere without counseling from parents and others who encouraged them to move further with their dream.

Whatever sport one is in, to get to the Olympics takes years of hard work and training. One must not forget that some Olympic athletes deal with intense pressure, combined with the stress of reaching their full potential. An example of this can be seen in Douglas, who seemed to be under a great deal of stress during both the uneven bar final and balance beam final when she came in last place on the uneven bars. In some cases, there is so much stress on an athlete, it cannot always be harnessed. It is important to remember that while many of these athletes have extraordinary abilities, they are not perfect, and everyone makes mistakes because we are all human.