Have you watched the Olympics recently?
I absolutely adore watching figure skating… even though all I can ice-skate is just a few small rounds on the rink.
My love for following figure skating accelerated during the 2014 winter Olympics. I had moved to Toronto from sunny Singapore 2 years prior and loved finding various ways to appreciate winter. Sitting in front of the iPad watching figure skating was one perfect way – so mesmerizing. A figure skater’s graceful elegance combined with athleticism draws me.
As you may know, Patrick Chan took home the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It was hard for him. He was gunning for the coveted Olympic gold. After all, he had won virtually all other gold medals in all major international competitions prior.
Given his disappointment, I really wasn’t expecting him to return to the competitive circuit.
Later on, he admitted that it took 2 years (read, TWO years!) to get over his messed-up jumps in the 2014 Olympics.
What strikes me throughout his journey of trials and tribulations – or rather, tribulations and trials – is how openly he shares his emotions.
Here’s why I love him even more than ever now.
Firstly, he decided to return to the competitive circuit despite feeling terribly discouraged. That’s after a 1 year hiatus, taking his time to contemplate what he really wanted.
Secondly, to find upon return, that many things had changed. His body wasn’t as conditioned as it was, and to add to the challenge, his competitors had gained an additional year of training. The rules of figure skating had changed. Top-notch skaters were training to put in more of the strenuous quad jumps in the routine that he’d so famously perfected and married with impeccable artistry.
But he didn’t back down from his decision to return.
Still, he carried on, committing to his decision to train and show up, no matter what the media or others say, and I imagine, no matter what his inner self-critic says.
According to the National Post, Chan says “I feel proud to be a skater: it’s taught me how to be emotional, more connected with myself, more mature, more understanding of my thoughts and the conversations I’ve had with myself.”
Now, at the recent 2018 Pyeong Chang Olympics, he emerged with a 9th ranking. Yes, I love him even more – because even though he fell on his jumps, he seems to have exited from his last skate with much more peace within himself and the world. How many people can go from heartbroken to a place of acceptance while facing up directly with the past hurt?
His emotional maturity, going from such a low point to a place of acceptance, and sharing it publicly, reminds me of a quote by Brene Brown.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
I absolutely resonate with that … oh what strength shining through!
After all, I think we know what it’s like to get over something that hurt us so badly. For many of us, a heartbroken experience could have taken more than 2 years to come to terms with it, right, depending on the intensity of the emotion that was thrown up. And then to ADMIT it openly WITH THE WORLD our inner feelings? How many of us have the courage to do that?
Let’s hear the change in tone from the wisdom Patrick Chan shares of his “failed” Sochi 2014 Olympic journey.
“‘It was very shallow way of thinking about the Olympic experience,” Chan said of needing gold to cement his legacy. “If that’s how I’m remembered by some people, then so be it. But for me it’s become much more in-depth than that. It’s become a story of self-growth. Not many people get to go to three Games. What can I take from it? What kind of things can I learn beyond skating? I still have such a long life to live. I’ve only scratched the surface. What can I take from this as I move on and feel this played a huge role in my life?'”
To be able to lift oneself up and rise again to do the best one can, in the spirit of true self growth…