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Olympic Athletes Admit Their Fears

When journalist John Branch covered the Winter Olympics in 2022, he observed the level of fear that athletes face. Branch wrote:

The Winter Olympics are a carnival of danger, a spectacle of speed and slick surfaces, powered mostly by the undefeated force of gravity. Skiers hurtle themselves down mountains faster than cars drive on highways. Sliders ride high-speed sleds down a twisting chute of ice. Ski jumpers soar great distances through the air, and snowboarders and freestyle skiers flip and spin in the sky and hope for a safe landing. The next wipeout always feels moments away.

The athletes who perform these daring feats are not crazy. They are not reckless. But they do have one thing in common that might surprise those of us who watch. They are scared. Every one of them.

Do they admit and discuss their fears? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. U.S. Alpine skier Alexsander Kilde said:

There’s a lot of people that have the mind-set that if I show some fear, then I’m going to be slow. I’ve never talked to anyone about being scared before. We are probably hiding it behind something. And I guess it’s because we don’t want to put ourselves in that position and to kind of seem weak or scared.

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