Sunday, March 20, 2005 - Perspective
NSDT Update: Searching for Seconds

- By: Shane Stevens

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What makes the Europeans better skiers than Canadians? What are skiers like Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, as well as some of the American men, doing to successfully get to the top? These are the types of questions I started to ask myself at the end of last season. When I talk to some of my teammates about these questions, their immediate response is - The best in the world are on drugs. As far as I'm concerned, it is this type of attitude that is holding Canadians back. Sure, some of the top skiers are on drugs, and some programs have more money than ours, but that is not the only thing separating them from us. I can say with as much certainty as is possible that Beckie and Sara have made it to their current level cleanly.

When I read about athletes such as Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods, the thing I really notice is their attention to detail - nothing is left to chance. And when I examined the way I used to approach my training I didn't see this. I have always worked hard and done a lot of things right, but I didn't do everything right. My technique was okay, but was far from being absolutely perfect. I stretched, ate and slept well most of the time, but was far from doing absolutely everything to ensure optimal recovery. I was strong, but not strong enough. I didn't spend enough time on snow or at altitude during the summer. The list of things I could come up with, as small as some may have been, kept on going. So, when I really thought about it, how did I expect to compete with the very best in the world if I wasn't doing everything perfectly.

At the start of this year, I decided that if I was going to justify the time and energy I'm putting into the sport, then I had better start following the examples set by our best athletes. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of clean athletes out there who are at or near the top in every sport. The difference between these athletes and the rest is that they aren‚t out there making excuses or feeling sorry for themselves. It doesn't matter if some guys are cheating, or if you have to work or go to school or whatever else may be standing in your way, if you really want something you can have it, and the best athletes realize this.

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