In Slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin Zips to Bottom and Reaches the Pinnacle
Michael Mauboussin (who was also interviewed HERE recently) mentioned this story as a great example of focusing on process over outcome.
Link to article: In Slalom, Mikaela Shiffrin Zips to Bottom and Reaches the Pinnacle
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old wunderkind of ski racing, is a product of a countercultural movement in American youth sports, an initiative of parents who encourage their children to focus on the process of athletic achievement instead of the results. In theory, both the journey and the destination are enhanced.
Shiffrin, the most precocious ski racer the United States has produced, believed and preached the doctrine, even as she became the youngest slalom world champion a year ago.
Then, on Friday night, Shiffrin skied to a commanding lead at the halfway point of the women’s Olympic slalom competition. The gold medal was hers to lose. Riding the chairlift for the second run, which would complete her coronation as ski racing’s newest queen, Shiffrin started to cry.
“I might actually be an Olympic champion,” she gasped.
Minutes later, roaring down the racecourse, she could not get the gold medal out of her mind. Shiffrin was on the verge of crashing, one ski airborne, her arms flailing.
Her coach was sure the race was lost. Her mother wondered if she would have a heart attack. The racer relied on the process.
“I’ve made that recovery in practice a hundred times, if not more,” Shiffrin said later. “So I said, ‘You know what to do — charge back into the course.’ ”
About 25 rapid and nearly flawless turns later, Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion. She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.
“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”