Every year, new teams are crowned champions over a wide spectrum of sports, but there are only a handful that will forever echo throughout eternity as conquerors. The Brazilian footballers of the 1960s, the West Indian cricketers of the 1970s and ‘80s, the current New Zealand All Blacks who dominate rugby union; these reigns, as mighty as they appear, pale in comparison to an empire that stretches back to the very beginning. US Swimming has exerted a stranglehold on their sport since the first Olympic Games and haven’t let go since. Thanks to a dominant mindset, they won’t be letting go any time soon.
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With less than a month to go before the world descends on Rio for the 27th Summer Olympic Games, thousands of athletes, coaches and sports practitioners are gearing up for the flagship sporting event of the year. The largest contingent will be representing the red, white and blue of the United States of America and such a big team comes with a host of big challenges. Finbarr Kirwan is a High Performance Director at the United States Olympics Committee (USOC) heading up two of the largest teams at the Games: track and field and swimming. He walks us through some of the obstacles he faces and divulges how he and his team are plotting for gold.
Finding the right level of arousal is vital for elite athletes if they are to succeed. A long distance runner who burns himself out too early will have as little chance of success as a boxer who is too slow to get in the zone for his fight. Unfortunately, arousal is not a switch that can simply be turned on or off. Mitzi Hollander, founder of The ADD Lab, has helped Attention Deficit Disorder patients maintain their levels of arousal for years. Using the same methods, she is helping professional athletes manage their body and minds for peak performance.