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Nerves and the Olympic Trials


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  • Nerves and the Olympic Trials

    I found these comments recently, made by an Olympic medalist--later was a sucessful pro football player--who was watching the U.S. Olympic Trials four years after his own Trials experience:

    "I'm at the final trials because I want to sit in the stands and suffer for a few of my friends. Man, I know just how they're gonna feel.

    "I've been in a lot of competition in my life, but that Olympic tryout day was the one I can't match. The pressure was so intense I though my legs would drop.

    "One time I rubbed my knees and didn't feel anything. My stomace was jumping up and down on my head. When my race came up they called me to the field and all I could say was 'Go Away!' But they dragged me out anyway and when the race started I could hardly remember wher I was.

    "After it was over, the excitement of qualifying made me queasier than ever. I went back to the dressing room where I was never so sick, and never so happy, all at the same time.

    "Then we went over to Helsinki and all the fellows told me the same--the pressure in the trials was much, much stronger than in the Olympics themselves. In the Tryouts you;'re fighting to make the team. Once you're made it, you're relaxed. You're part of the USA squad, and that's not bad. You have a feeling you have earned your trip, whethery you placed first or third and nobody's gonna take that away from you."

    -Ollie Matson, 1952 400m bronze medalist and 4x400 silver medalist, Inductee in the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame

    (Appear4ed in Track Newsletter, July 3, 1956)

  • #2
    Very interesting little read.
    You there, on the motorbike! Sell me one of your melons!