I loved reading this post Danielle.. It was so easy to relate to, as I (as well as pretty much everyone else who has commented) grew up with a role model athlete who was male. Why as a child did I want to strive to be as good as Sidney Crosby or Kobe Bryant, who were men? I don’t think it was solely based on the skills they had and how they totally dominated in the sports they played, but I thin part of it was because I didn’t ever get to see a female face be held to the equivalent standard. It is without a doubt the women are not getting the exposure and praise they deserve for being amazing ATHLETES, not FEMALE ATHLETES. I think it really is important to work to get athletes who are female more exposure within sports media. This will help young girls who are at these stages in their lives, just as we were when we dreamed of being the next Sidney or Kobe, someone to look up to who is a female.
Aspects to consider in picking a best athlete of all time would include, obviously, that player's raw talent and born ability. Some individuals seem to prodigally gifted in their sport of choice, and it's hard to discount the importance of this kind of natural talent. However, it's also important to evaluate hard work, discipline and a commitment to the game. Some athletes may not have the natural, genetic ability to dunk a basketball or hit a home run, but nonetheless have trained to the point of reaching these goals all the same. (They may not be the greatest athlete of all time at all sports, but they have mastered their activity.)
On the mantras and mental tricks that give physical kicks
In a Half Ironman, I’m out there for four hours. I can have a bad 20 or 30 minutes, come out of it, and still have a pretty awesome race. I have go-to mantras. It’s really dorky. “You’re kicking ass!” “You’re killin’ it!” I say them out loud, almost yelling them. I’ve found that the more physical you can make them, [the better]—you’re not only saying them, you’re hearing them, too, which makes a difference. Also, a mental kick that always gives me a physical kick is interacting with the crowd in some way. When I say “Thank you!” [to someone cheering on the sidelines] or give someone a high five, I feel like I can literally feel tangible energy connecting from those people to me.