I have always been a huge fan of the Olympics, especially the Winter Olympics. They are easily my favorite! I got pretty pumped about the Sochi 2014 Olympics after watching ‘How to Raise an Olympian’ last night on NBC. They gave an in-depth look at some of the U.S. athletes and how they got to be where they are today. Those people have some serious drive. They’re all so young and have accomplished so much, I just think that’s really awesome.
After getting all geeked-out after watching the show, I did a little research on Olympic athletes to learn a bit more about their training and nutrition. This is by no means an entire compilation of all the great athletes, I’ve rounded up just a few of my favorites. Some I’ve been a fan of a long time and a couple that are new to me too.
Though not featured on the special, I couldn’t leave her outta this. One of Gretchen’s favorite moves to strengthen and prepare her legs for boarding are hamstring holds which you can see her demonstrate here. She always swears by eating several small meals per day (think breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack) to keep her metabolism revved and her energy levels up.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell Gretchen has recently retired after not making the 2014 Sochi Olympic team. This saddens me and I would LOVE for somebody to tell me that this isn’t true. She had a terrible fall during a training exercise that resulted in several injuries which you can hear more about below. I have loved watching her over the years.
This is a new name to me. I hadn’t heard of Miss Mikaela prior to seeing the show on NBC last night but she’s an incredible athlete. She’s favored to win GOLD and she’s 18! One of the most interesting things I learned about her training program was the fact that she just recently learned how to do pull-ups. She couldn’t do them at all a little over a year ago and now she can do “7 to 10 on a really good day”. As an aspiring pull-up doer, I found this inspiring. Her training involves a good amount of strength training, bouts of cardio and also agility and balance training. (via Today.com)
Ice dancers and figure skaters require strong legs to keep them upright for the duration of their performance. One of Meryl’s favorite moves to strengthen her quads and hamstrings are wall squats. She recommends holding it for up to one minute and then as you progress, holding it even longer. Her partner Charlie says to try and hold a conversation with somebody to help the time fly by faster. I could see how that could maybe net you a few extra seconds, haha. Wall squats are tough!
To help make her core rock solid and strong, Meryl is sure to include oblique crunches. As far as her nutrition goes, she knows the importance of using food as fuel. According to her she eats several small meals per day, stresses the importance of a little breakfast before getting into her workout, she drinks “a lot” of water, always fuels up right after workouts w/protein and carbs and usually eats a simple dinner that may include things like chicken, rice, veggies. She experiments with different flavors to make things a bit more interesting. Also, Meryl’s go-to song of the moment is Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” (via Shape.com)
I hadn’t heard of Amy either but I was really inspired after watching her story. It’s so interesting to learn the backgrounds of Olympic athletes. It’s just fun to know more about the people who are representing your country! Amy is a double amputee para-snowboarder who started snowboarding at the age of 15. After coming down with bacterial meningitis and having a less than 2% chance of survival at the age of 19, she survived. She’s now 34-years-old and will be competing in the Paralympics during the first snowboarding events ever. Pretty damn cool.
Lindsay was featured on ‘How to Raise an Olympian’ but will not be competing in the Sochi Olympics this year. This is another blow to my Olympic plans! I kid, I kid. I was really looking forward to her though and was hoping she would be able to come back from the incredible injury she suffered and be herself again but alas, that is not going to happen this time around. Can we just have the Winter Olympics every two years??
During Lindsay’s segment I learned that she does a lot of heavy squats and bosu ball training. Actually, I think I’ve seen all of these athletes on a bosu ball at one time or another, they must be incredible for helping with balance. I should take note because my balance could use a TON of work.
Okay, and now for some of my Winter Olympic favorites!
Favorite Olympic Movie
I haven’t seen a lot of Olympic movies or anything but this one has always been my favorite. I can’t believe it’s over 20 years old!
Favorite Olympic Athlete
I have so many favorite athletes so it’s very difficult to choose just one! I’ll go with Gretchen Bleiler, Lindsay Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Meryl Davis. Can I just say all the snowboarders too? They’re all my favorite to watch!
Favorite Olympic Event(s)
- Ice dancing
I’m also really looking forward to the slopestyle events that are new this year. Kinda bummed that Shaun White bowed out of the men’s comp but there are still a ton of other athletes competing in the event and I for one, am looking forward to it!
U.S. & Canada Hockey!
Q. Are you excited for the Olympics in Sochi? What are some of your favorite events? Favorite athletes to watch?