SOCHI 2014

Journey Of Champions presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance: Steve Mesler Talks With Elana Meyers

By Steve Mesler, 2010 Four-Man Bobsled Olympic Champion | April 18, 2013, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
 
Elana Meyers (L) and Erin Pac celebrate receiving the bronze medal
during the medal ceremony on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter
Games at Whistler Medals Plaza on Feb. 25, 2010 in Whistler, B.C.

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What's going to get in the way over the next six months to a year that might mess with that plan?

I think the biggest roadblock for me is nutrition (with a devilish laugh). It's the one thing I struggle with the most. I am a foodie and I love to eat!

So, the final priority – have fun doing it. As an Olympian you have all of this serious stuff happening, so how are you going to make sure fun rises above it?

I really believe my biggest gains will come from my nutrition. Reminding myself that this piece of chocolate cake isn't going to help me be where I want to be in February of 2014. I need the food to fuel me. I need to eat to live, not live to eat.

One of the things is to actually have fun during my runs. I talk to myself a lot in my sled. I talk to myself after I get out of my sled, before I get in my sled, and one of my biggest things is remaining in attack mode while I'm in my sled. And while I'm in attack mode, I'm having a lot of fun.

I'm focused and everything's coming at me fast. My adrenaline is up and I'm just really excited and having a lot of fun. The times this past season I wasn't having fun is when I pressed. When I thought too much about the outcome or the result, or just stressed too much about a certain line or drove tentatively. That's going to be very important for me to keep that mindset.

The other thing is remembering it's just fun – it’s sliding down an icy hill! As a kid, who wouldn't love to do that? As an adult, I get to do that every day. I'm very blessed to get to do what I do.

Lastly, getting better and feeling myself get better is a lot of fun. There's days you don't feel yourself get better. There's days you feel like you're never going to recover from this - but pushing yourself into things you've never done before is fun, too.

And it brings me back to my support team...having the right people around you will remind you about how much fun training is.

That’s a great perspective, Elana. That’s the exact environment we tried to foster on Team Night Train heading into the 2010 Olympic year.

And now, the two questions every athlete I interview for the Journey of Champions series gets to answer. You ready?

Of course!

What does success look like to you?

 
Pilot Elana Meyers and Jamie Greubel of Team USA start their
second run of the women's bobsleigh World Championships on
Feb. 18, 2011 in Koenigssee, Germany.

Success to me is the achievement of a goal, however I choose to define it. What that means in my terms is that it's not necessarily about winning a gold medal. It's not necessarily about having a certain downtime. It's about putting everything I have into a goal and giving everything I've got, and then seeing what the outcome is.

It's doing the work, day in, day out. Working hard and doing everything I can towards that goal and going after it. And when I say go after it, I mean REALLY go after it.

What people ask me a lot is whether or not I'll be happy if I don't win a gold medal at these Games. For me, it's not about winning a gold medal. Of course I want one, but it's more about me doing everything I can to go out there and put together the four best runs of my life. And that's all that I can control. For me, that's what success at the Olympics looks like.

Ok - and now another three things - what are the three most important factors for an athlete to reach that definition of success?

Number one is confidence. I'm a strong believer that in order to achieve something, you have to believe you can. If you don't believe you can do it, no one else will either.

Number two is hard work. You have to be willing to do what no one else is willing to do. You have to be willing to put in the time, energy and be willing to give everything you have.

 Number three is along the lines of surrounding yourself with the best people – surrounding yourself with a positive team. I'm a huge proponent of that. I don't know if it goes back to my softball background or my father's instruction having three girls in the house, but I'm a huge proponent of surrounding yourself with the best people. Then you'll be able to be successful in whatever you do.

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