I used to put a lot of focus on lifting big weight: training power, strength, explosiveness, etc. These days, in terms of sports, my interest has shifted to brazilian jiu jitsu and judo. I find that this is where I’m able not only to challenge myself physically, mentally, but also intellectually. I have to engage my mind, visualize, learn technique sequences much in the same way that I learned to play intermediate-level chess earlier in life.
However, to me, there is still no sport that embodies the purest form of a physical challenge better than Olympic weightlifting. At the highest levels, it is my favorite sport as a spectator and a fan of the Olympics. These are athletes that achieve the seemingly impossible feat of lifting twice their bodyweight in one movement over their head. Moreover, what makes the sport exciting to watch is that it usually boils down to the athlete having just one attempt to lift a weight that is his personal record or even more than he has ever lifted before.
I have the deepest respect for the mental strength that can seize on the pressure to perform in a split second the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life, and the thing that you’ve trained for your whole life.
Here’s a video of one of the sport’s greatest failing to win a fourth consecutive gold medal. There is something so real in this dramatic moment. A mix of sadness and awe… The struggle is so human, and is just the reason I love sports.