Airi Mikkela: Escaping the Rio-hype
This blog is a story. I want it to be an honest story about the life as a top athlete. It would be great to mention only the good training sessions I've done this week and last week
I've been playing well and I've also managed to push through the hard intervals that I don't really enjoy. The weights at the gym are slowly starting to feel lighter and all in all my preparations for the next season are going well. However, in this chapter of my story everything is not only easy and fun.
I feel like there are those little traps for me everywhere. Every day there's something that brings up the fact that I didn't make it to the Olympics. I'm already pretty strong and those things don't get through my shell so easily anymore. However, there's always a new sharper knife that hits deep. Facebook and other social medias are constantly filled with Rio updates. There are commercials and programs about the Olympics on TV. People are asking me if I'm going to Rio and how does it feel that I'm not. There are journalists and TV-cameras in our trainings every week, but they are not interviewing me but the person on the other side of the net.
I'm doing my best to fight against these traps and knives and it takes so much energy. It's hard to sleep and I have nightmares. I can suddenly just break down like I did the other day when I started crying after telling a random guy at the gym that "can you f##*@&! stop staring at me!". I don't usually break down like this, it's not normal to me. Actually it's not normal to me to even say something like that.
Sometimes I get those awesome ideas that I could move away and live in the middle of a forest. Build a little cottage, pick berries for breakfast and go fishing to get some dinner. I could run intervals whenever I feel like doing that (which is never) and be happy just by myself in a place where the Olympic hype wouldn't touch me. There is only one big problem in this plan: I'm allergic to fish...
Actually there is also another reason for why I don't just run away and give up. The reason is that I want to play. I really want to win and develop. I guess that's also my biggest worry at the moment - what if I don't get the chance to play anymore because I wasn't good enough? I know I'm still just as good but I just ended up being the second one on the list and the one who's not in the spotlight. And that's why it's much more difficult to find those who still believe in me and want to support me.
Maybe this is only just a test. A chapter in my story which is supposed to test my strength. They say that your strength is measured when you're at your weakest. A good attitude is that you just need to work hard. I'm wondering how they can put the words 'just' and 'work hard' in the same sentence, for me there's a big contradiction. But it's still the best attitude I know.
I want to be mature, smart and strong. I want to be able to handle this, develop as a player and as a person. I also want to help Nanna as much as I can on her way to Rio and be a good training partner for her. I'm happy that we still get along very well and practicing together is helping the both of us. I hope that people can see how hard I'm trying and that they appreciate that.
I'm going back to Denmark on Monday and I'm gonna continue hard work there. The traps and knives will be there no matter how hard I try to avoid them but apart from that I'm looking forward to the hard practice. I'm gonna be in a great shape soon, both physically and mentally, when I push through one practice after another and overcome all the obstacles. I just need to focus on the positive things, since there are lots of them as well. In some strange way this is so much fun after all.
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