Only individuals with a unique set of skills and personality traits can become successful Olympic athletes
. Many of these skills and traits – perfectionism, egocentrism, and unending determination and patience – also sound like the perfect ingredients for a hugely successful career and life after the Olympic Games. According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Queensland, however, many of these mighty athletes may be setting themselves up for a difficult transition to normal life.From the Podium to Normal Life
The Australian researchers interviewed Olympic athletes that competed in either the summer or winter games, and found that many of these individuals were having a lot of trouble acclimating themselves to normal life, including socializing and the everyday work grind. Of all the characteristics common with Olympic athletes, three of them were found to complicate the transition: perfectionism, submissiveness and competitiveness.
Those who do well in sports usually spend tremendous amounts of time training and perfecting a very specific set of skills. And in some cases you might only work on one particular aspect, such as throwing a javelin or diving. Improvement for such athletes is easily noted, goals are clearly reached, and coaches provide constant praise, guidance, and assistance. But when translated into the practical world, being perfect at one skill is not as useful as being good at many different
Additionally, you won’t ever get the same amount of attention in the workforce from your boss as an athlete does from his or her coach; and this sudden lack of attention could lead to depression and other mental health issues
. In fact, one former Olympian admitted to suffering from severe depression and anxiety for over a year after retirement because she was unable to cope with the change in direction, everyday activities, and the fact that goals and achievements were no longer clearly laid out.Is All Hope Lost for these Athletes?
So . . . the new study found out that high performance athletes have a really tough time making the switch to a “typical” lifestyle – what can we do with that information? Well, trainers and researchers are trying to determine exactly what affects the development of Olympic athletes
. By working together to change the training process in a way that will enable Olympians and professional athletes to function normally in our average society, we can welcome and enjoy their shining personalities, stunning displays of showmanship and hard-working attitudes among our work colleagues, long after the Olympics have ended and the television has been turned off. Cited Sources
Hsu, Christine. "Psychological Traits of Olympic Athletes Increase Their Risk for Mental Problems in Later Life." MedicalDaily.com
. Medical Daily, 9 July 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012. <http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120709/10719/olympic-athletes-psychology-training-sport.htm>.