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As a good sports lover, we know that you do not need any excuse to want to expand your horizons and motivate you with the experiences of elite athletes. For this reason, from bewolfish we want to help you reflect and learn. Therefore, taking advantage of the approach of The International Book Day, we want you, who are part of our community, to be inspired and motivated by short stories we have selected from the books of seven great athletes who talk about how to manage the pressure, why talented athletes do not succeed, what is the reward of success or what happens after an elite career is finished, among other topics.

“Perfection? There will be

about five times a year

that you wake up perfect”

If you are in the world of sports you know that it is very important to never lose concentration. Wanting to do well, to prove your worth and improve, always improve, creates a pressure that is very important, and difficult, to manage. “When you pursue perfection, when you turn perfection into the ultimate goal, do you know what are you doing? You are chasing something that does not exist. And you make all those around you unhappy. Perfection? There will be about five times a year when you wake up perfect, in which you can’t lose against anyone. But are not those five times a year that make you a tennis player. Not even a human being. Are all the other times”. Being aware of it magnifies you as an athlete and as a human being. The American tennis player Andre Agassi, who managed to be number one, makes it very clear in the book Open: an autobiography by Andre Agassi written by the Pulitzer Prize J.R. Moehringer.

“Which is the difference between

those who get it and those who

don’t? The consistent practice”

As we all know, playing at the highest level requires a lot of sacrifices, giving everything to get more, giving up to win. Ona Carbonell knows it very well, as she explains it in her book Tres minutos, cuarenta segundos. It is a hard story, but very tender at the same time. “My love relationship with synchronized swimming has a lot of romantic and stormy melodrama. One day everything is wonderful and I am the happiest person in the world. The next day everything is a drama and I come back home in tears. The life of synchronized swimming is difficult but precious. Years of work are bet in just a few minutes. There are many hard moments in which you think about leaving it, but in life nothing is rosy and everything gives you an apprenticeship”.

And it is also true that every sacrifice has its reward. The important thing is to work hard and to believe in yourself. According to Jorge Lorenzo, who has just published his book Lo que aprendí hasta los 30: Mis secretos para alcanzar el éxito en todo lo que te propongas, the key to being a professional athlete is to have personal improvement as a life philosophy, “we are all born with a talent. Everyone, in our lives, we have managed to do something extraordinary, something beyond the reach of the average. We all have some physical or mental ability, something that from a very young age and without knowing why we are very good at. Something that, naturally, without much effort, we do better than our friends or family. Some even possess several of those talents. However, only a small percentage of those people come to exploit that talent or ability and manage to live on it. What is the difference between those who get it and those who don’t? It’s very simple, the consistent practice. Some, when they discover their talent, continue to deliberately practice it the rest of their lives”.

“He changed his religion

and name, he declared himself

free from all ties and expectations”

And then, once you know your talent, is when passion and faith come in strongly, making sport your way of life despite all the obstacles. Simone Biles is a good example of this, as shown in Courage to soar, since the American gymnast had a tough future ahead, but won the battle. “Maybe because I was always so much smaller than everyone around me, I had this fierce drive to prove myself. So, if someone told me to do five push-ups, I’d do ten. If someone tried to tell me I couldn’t perform a skill (except maybe on bars, but we’ll get to that later), it only made me want to do that skill flawlessly. That didn’t mean I was reckless. Competitive gymnastics can be a dangerous sport, and I understood just how important it was to be well-prepared. In competition, we always performed the skills we’d practised and mastered in the gym because as any gymnast can tell you, there’s a fine line between being courageous and ending up with a major injury. That’s how my journey as an elite gymnast began—with a defeat that put an ache in my heart and doubts in my mind. […] No one is more surprised than I am that the little girl with the big muscles ended up on a path from foster care to an Olympic stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some might call that destiny. I call it a blessing, a gift from God, and a miracle”.

When one wins, like Simone, the victory, the challenge, the records are highly valued. But when losing, all the effort is not taken into account. In today’s society, where you have everything instantly, victory has been trivialized; “Nowadays there is a tendency to look for magical formulas for success and, if possible, the immediate effect. Actually, there are no shortcuts or miraculous formulas. There is only one way: the effort, the determination and certain doses of sacrifice”, says the canoeist Saúl Craviotto in 4 años para 32 segundos. La recompensa del esfuerzo.

“As a player you must

respect people and work

hard to be fit”

Another complex and controversial issue that involves athletes is their position as opinion leaders. David Remnick speaks about it in the book King of the world: Muhammad Ali who brings us the most human version of one of the greatest, the boxer Muhammad Ali. “As a professional athlete, he was supposed to be forced to stay above the political and racial revolts that surrounded him […]. Clay, on the other hand, did not merely react to the agitation but did so in a way that irritated everyone, from the white racists to the leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of People of Colour. He changed his religion and name, he declared himself free from all ties and all expectations. Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali”.

We can see that being a reference in the world of sports is not an easy task. The athletes are involved in a vortex of sacrifice and commitment that is compensated with the passion and courage deposited at every moment, in every training, in every competition with the desire to achieve the unimaginable, to win everything. But when you spend your whole life doing what you love and your work is your dream, what happens when all ends?

“There’s no greater satisfaction

than success achieved through

pain, sweat and tears”

The feeling of being retired is bad. As a player you must respect people and work hard to be fit. I used to train very hard. When other players went to the beach after training, I was hitting the ball. I still dream that I am dribbling, scoring goals. Now I miss the ball, the enthusiasm and the energy in the stadium, the struggle to get a good result, the joy and the sadness in victory and defeat, but I will never be a football coach. I know that being a coach is complicated and I do not want to complicate my life. If I mark the difference, it’s thanks to my education and my family base, that’s why I’m never involved in scandals.” With these words, Pelé reaffirms that he is a clear example of an impeccable trajectory and a perfect withdrawal. The footballer narrates his story in the magnificent book Pelé: the autobiography.

Constancy, fight, sacrifice, strength, passion… are sports values and, as it could not be otherwise, also bewolfish’s. With these stories we want to inspire and motivate you to continue fighting for your goals, to overcome all the obstacles that stand in your way to achieve your dreams, to train day after day with the enthusiasm and passion of one day reaching your destination. Because there is nothing better than sports and there is no greater satisfaction than the success achieved through pain, sweat and tears.

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