Coming Down and Coming Up: Olympic Transitions in the year after London and Before Sochi

Karen Cogan, USOC, USA
Alexander Cohen, USOC, USA
Peter Haberl, USOC, USA
Sean McCann, USOC, USA
Wendy Borlabi, USOC, USA

Theme: Elite performance

Program ID: SYM-22

Presentation: October 5, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Napoleon


“It’s not every four years, it’s every day.” This slogan is well-known at USOC Training Centers. To the public, Olympic preparation occurs the year of the Olympics. Clearly, this is true, but for sport psychologists working closely with athletes and teams, preparation occurs every day, beginning the few weeks after the Closing Ceremony and building to the Games four years later. Several past presentations (McCann et al., 2011) have documented sport psychology’s involvement and successes in the Olympics, but rarely are issues that emerge in a non-Olympic year addressed. This presentation will focus on sport psychology’s role in 2013, one year after London 2012 and less than four months prior to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. For summer sports, each presenter will provide a brief overview of sport psychology highlights from London and his/her role in contributing to athletes’ performances. The main focus of each presentation will then shift to the after-math of the Games and “post-Olympic letdown.” After the intensity of preparation and Games themselves, athletes may have difficulty adjusting to changes in life or training focus and are faced with decisions about their futures. One presentation will focus on maintaining resilience across the “in between” Olympic years. Case examples will be utilized to provide greater understanding of the challenges some athletes face and how sport psychology has helped. Sport psychologists themselves face adjustments in non-Olympic years as the focus of work shifts. These issues also will be addressed. While the summer Games cycle is just beginning, the Winter Games are right around the corner. The winter sport psychologist will focus on preparation for the upcoming Games, comparing it to current work with the summer sports’ transitional years. Presenters will conclude with ideas for assisting athletes through major transitions.

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