Hamilton Tips from Canadian Olympic athletes

(NC)—We all have dreams, no matter how big or small. However, trying to achieve them can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task. That's why it's important to prepare in advance and set goals. Canadian Olympic athletes know first-hand that dreams are not achieved overnight. With years of training, sacrifice and trying to beat the odds, these athletes have learned how to turn dreams into a reality. Five Canadian Olympic hopefuls share what they consider the key ingredients to success:

  • There is no "I" in team. Skeleton athlete, Sarah Reid, knows all about the importance of team work. "Although skeleton is an individual sport, success is never found without the help of a team. Two heads are better than one, and three heads are better than two. My teammates and I are all working towards the same goal, and each one of us brings something unique to the sport and the team. Similarly, loved ones can also be a part of your own personal 'team', and can provide a unique support. Family and friends can be there for an outside perspective or to offer insight or advice. Don't be afraid to acknowledge your weaknesses and ask for help! Your weakness may be another person's strength!"

  • Have a support system. Biathlon athlete, Megan Imrie, and bobsledder, Jenny Ciochetti, know the importance of a good support system. "A strong support system helps keep you grounded and reminds you that you're loved no matter what you are doing or whether or not you're successful," says Ciochetti. "Competing at the 2010 Winter Games on Canadian soil would be an exciting accomplishment but could also be unnerving ," says Imrie. "Thanks to the Petro-Canada Canadian Athlete Family Program, which will host approximately 500 immediate family members of Canadian athletes competing in Vancouver, my family will have the opportunity to cheer me on. My family will be completely taken care of — everything from accommodations, meals, transportation and even event tickets. There is nothing better than knowing my family will be there."

  • Use your imagination. Warren Shouldice, a freestyle aerialist, often visualizes himself achieving his dream — winning gold for Canada. "Before any big competition, I imagine myself executing a perfect jump and then standing on the podium in first place. I focus on the positives and all the hard work that has prepared me to be the best I can be. I find that using my mental fitness this way allows me to overcome whatever challenges I face. No matter what your goal is in life, visualize yourself crossing the finish line and what it will take to get there."

  • Believe in yourself. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to accomplish a goal. Along the way, there may be disappointments as well as successes, but most importantly you need to believe in yourself. Curler, Brent Laing, knows what it feels like to experience a set-back. "As an athlete, you may experience hurdles that can affect the outcome you're hoping to achieve. Determined not to let these types of challenges hold me back, I continue to believe in myself and keep working towards achieving my goals. Hard work and perseverance can help you reach your dreams."

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