What Makes a Champion?

IFSC Brixen Semi Finals 2023

Many coaches have the dream of working with an Olympian or member of a National Team, but I couldn’t care less about that. I want a champion. If those titles seem synonymous, then we better clarify.

Before I went to Canadian Open Nationals, I wrote a letter to myself dated the day after finals. In it, I described how I performed and carried myself throughout the competition. Of course, the competition hadn’t started yet, but I detailed every performance result that I could and would control going into the competition. At the end of the letter, I wrote, “You went into this competition a champion and came out a champion.”

If we go by the general definition of a champion, my letter must not have been accurate. I came in 2nd. The National Champion title literally went to someone else.

But you see, I undoubtedly lived up to every word of my letter.

A champion is a person (not necessarily an athlete) that embodies hard work, commitment, and consistency, consistently. Everyone has the prerequisites for this title, but too few actually become it.

Recently I had a few conversations with some athletes who needed a kick in the pants to get back on track. These were either people who had a bad competition not too long ago or were starting to lose their drive for training. The first thing I asked was, “Do you want to be a champion?”. The answer was of course yes, but I wasn’t satisfied with that.

Being a champion is simple but hard. Very hard.