There are more than a few Olympic athletes this year who have captured the hearts of audiences with a special sparkle. One of the youngest swimmers on the U.S. Olympic team is 17-year old, 6-foot-1 Missy Franklin, who’s been called “Olympics’ All-American Sweetheart.” Her incredible strength and stamina in the pool, her constant smile and energy, her love of the sport all add up to a winning combination both in and out of the water.
Franklin’s positive attitude seems to cancel any pre-performance jitters. And what a bright spot her joy is for her training-ground of Aurora, Colorado after the recent tragedy the city endured. She’s going home with four golds and a bronze, with a world record in the 200m back. “I can’t think of a better way to end. I am the happiest girl alive,” she told the press.
Beyond the powerhouse bodies and physical training, dealing with the stress of the competition really comes down to the athlete’s mental state. And given the fact that stress is increasingly linked to disease–and the reason behind most doctor visits–it’s worth paying attention to effective ways to handle pressure. Continue reading