One of my strengths in ski racing is my ability to relax and breathe easily in high-stress situations-even if I’m faking it. In the big events especially, you need to stay calm because everyone else is so fired up.
In 1992 in Albertville, I was all tweaked about everything going on around me. It was my first Olympics and I had high expectations. I finished around 28th, and I remember crying in the finish after the race. But from that experience I learned not to think so much about the things I can’t control. Coming into the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, I realized that of all the variables out there, the only thing I could control was how I ski. So I tried not to think about anything else. Right into the gate of the downhill race, my thoughts were simple: “Hands forward, stay on the outside ski, and here we go.”
When I got on the course I was on auto-pilot, just going down and letting it happen. Later, in the super G, I’d already won my gold medal and knew I was on fire, so I was even more relaxed. There are so many things to think about-equipment, coaches, diet, training times-but too many thoughts get in the way. Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a time out-just like little kids do-in order to re-group and clear your mind.
Tommy Moe, a 1994 Olympic gold and silver medalist, plans to race in his third Olympics this winter.