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Do What You Love

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

I bet you could see the whites of my eyes from space as they rolled back in my head during Fiona’s gold medal interview after she won the at the ICF Worlds Championship.

The funny thing is, I tried to research what emotion humans feel when we roll our eyes - and there isn’t one word for it! Eye rolling can be in response to someone saying something stupid, annoying, or that you don’t believe. The thing is though, I wasn’t annoyed, her words weren’t stupid, and what she said was true… but there was something else there that just irked me.

She said, “I guess this is just the result of discipline, the discipline to train twice a day.” I rolled my eyes because, truth be told, I was absolutely gutted.

I thought I had a lot of things figured out going into the 2021 world championships. When my result was nothing like what I expected, I was thinking, “Do you really think that anyone in that final heat doesn’t train twice a day?” Like, seriously? Don’t you think that everyone there, seconds apart at the finish, has been training twice daily, building our lives around paddling, eating right, recovering properly… quite literally checking all the boxes to ensure a top performance?

I doubt anyone just showed up and said, “Let’s see how this goes” while winging it off a season of half-ass training. Thank you captain-obvious for the stunning interview, but what really separates the top performer from the rest on any given day?

Maybe she doesn’t know. A lot of people in that same situation would thank a higher power, some would cite luck, others would claim it was some super supplement or top-secret training methodology. I’m not saying she should stand up there and promote her religious beliefs, sell something, or give away training secrets, I’m just saying that the difference between first and fifth place had very little to do with the discipline to train twice a day.

Maybe I’m just tired of interviewers asking that question. Especially, because I’m convinced that no one knows the answer. It could be as simple as a bad burrito or a poor night's sleep.

I felt the same eye-roll mid-scroll on socials a few weeks later. APP World Tour Champion Seychelle shared a throwback of her raising the Championship Cup high overhead with a caption that read something along the lines of writing it down every day, believing that the universe was going to support her, and being grateful for it before it happened.