the dream after the olympic one


photo by Jeff Farsai

It’s a dream that anyone who has ever fallen in love with a sport has most likely contemplated at one point or another. For some athletes, representing their country at the Games is a measure of knowing they’ve made it. Olympic silver medalist and Fashion Island ambassador Jaime Komer, talks about life after the Olympics – a life she hadn’t ever planned for.

dreaming the dream

I competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and earned a silver medal with the USA Women's water polo team. Achieving something like this was a "hmm, imagine if..." question ever since I fell in love with the sport. My passion for water polo pushed me beyond my perceived limits, introduced me to some of the most inspiring individuals I've ever met, took me on adventures around the globe and allowed me to truly understand the concept of “I can and I will.”

The idea of setting audacious and slightly (or very!) intimidating goals is what got me where I am today. I attribute much of my success to the daily, monthly and yearly goals I set pre-Olympics. Breaking down the work I knew I had to do into goals, helped me through the tough journey I knew was ahead.

to the olympics and beyond

Oddly enough, the hardest part was actually after the games. Here’s the thing, when you’re training for the Olympics you dedicate your whole life to the sport. You’ve got your sights set on making one goal happen and everything else (and everyone else) gets put on hold. (This is the part where I thank my husband and family for their understanding while I continually missed birthdays, anniversaries and, almost, my own brother's wedding!). The last thing on your mind is, "Soooo, what am I going to do with myself after this?"

the dream after the olympic one

I've heard many stories about athletes experiencing post-Olympic depression once they stop competing in their respective sport. It’s all you know for the longest time and in a way, it has defined you as a person. It can be difficult to move on and dare to open yourself up to a new dream.  How will anything top the act of going to the Olympic Games? Some will say that nothing can.

I am excited to say I am taking a different perspective. I realized that creating big ol' freakishly awesome (yet thoroughly audacious) goals didn’t have to stop there. Have I given everything I can to the world, my community, my family, my legacy? Certainly not! It wasn’t until I could cross off my Olympic goals that I could start to realize what else was out there for me and a world of possibility opened up.

Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a seasoned goal setter, the feeling of “what’s next?” is a familiar and sometimes scary one. Ever had your sights set on one thing for so long, you didn’t know what to do after?

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I can relate to this in a very strong way. Although it is a much smaller goal and takes much less time, I had my sights set on completing the NYC marathon in a certain time and spent the better part of a year thinking about and working on it. After the marathon was over, I felt very depressed. I felt lost and less driven after losing that goal and completing it. But you are so right to be grateful for what you have accomplished and use that drive towards new goals. You’ve found incredible things within yourself and you can put them to use in other ways!

Comment by Elizabeth Sinclaire — January 17, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

This is so true, I experienced this after my first marathon, took me a year to get back the drive to train.

Comment by Alli — January 17, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

After 15 years of competitive swimming, including a collegiate career that fell significantly short of my goals, I was left with a sense of disappointment and loss. It’s been three years, and I still struggle from time to time. Can I ask how your were able to adopt such an amazing perspective? Seems like I need to find a new outlet for my passion :)

Comment by HKL — February 9, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

When you ask about that AMAZING PERSPECTIVE, I tip my hat to LULULEMON. :)

I whole-heartedly thank you for reaching out about this subject, it can be a daunting one to talk about and to work through. I know for myself, it has taken me some time to feel comfortable (and confident) in my own story and path.

You bring up a key point that often goes ignored, I think. Maybe it’s that competitive nature of an athlete, but it seems like that no matter how well one does, it never feels good enough. Even after the Olympic Games, I was struggling with where I was at and what I had achieved. Weird, right?

Whether this is an expectation we put on ourselves or one that we believe that others have of us, either way, I found that these were solely perceived notions that I had created. So it was up to me to change them (easier said than done, I realize) :).

Oddly enough, when I was at the point of “should I stay or should I go” (I just sang that part), I found myself hanging out in the lululemon store so often that I soon became an Educator with them. :) Their sense of community, positive vibe, and goal settting sessions (huge help!) really opened my eyes to a world beyond athletics….and to be proud of who I am!

I’m not sure if you’ve done any Vision & Goal Setting with lulu but I think this was the tipping point for me. This helped me think BIG and beyond what I used to think possible (for me, I’m thinking Globe Trotting Health & Fitness Blogger, haha).

This is a very personal and unique journey, but you know you’re already on the right one. :)

Comment by Jaime Komer — February 13, 2012 @ 9:08 am

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