The question was posed – Why did I commit so much of my life to being an elite athlete?  At 15 I made the national team, saw the sport at the international level and knew that I would go to the Olympics and wanted to see how good I could get.   


Twelve solid years of my life went into being an athlete.  The last 2 or 3 years I competed were the turning point and the hardest.  I was no longer a serious medal contender and had to consider retiring from the sport without having performed my best at the Olympic Games, a failure.  


At that point I had competed in three Olympics.   Decision = forget about the gold, the medals, the result, just do everything possible, to do my best.  If I can do that and know in my heart that I brought it to the table at the Olympics, then what place I finish does not matter.   As it turned out my best in 2002 got me that elusive Olympic Gold.  


Whatever field you decide to pursue, making a commitment to stick at it no matter what and always striving to do your personal best, will determine how successful you are.