I was so disheartened to hear of the sudden passing of Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya. I believe it shook me and the rest of the skating community to the core. She could be anyone of us, trying to navigate the transition away from the sport. Fearing the unknown and what that move meant for her life. Finding a healthy balance in sport and life can be challenging but is especially important when you move on.
Sport and Identity
For many athletes, your identity becomes directly intertwined with performance in your sport. When you perform well you are good and when you perform poorly you are bad. When you can no longer perform it is hard to know who you are anymore. If you are forced to retire early, you may feel discontent and mourn the loss of the dreams you set for yourself. However, sport is just one part of who you are and for this reason, it is key to maintain balance while you are training.
I recall Nam Nguyen sharing in an interview with me how he committed to only skating the year going into the 2018 Winter Olympics. “It got so unhealthy because everything revolved around skating” he said. This inevitably backfired because it became too much about the skating, the pressure was too great, and he didn’t make the team. Listen to Nam’s interview here. The next year he rekindled his love for skating by doing it on his own terms and also going to school, working and having a social life outside of the sport.
A Healthy Perspective
It can be a challenge to find time for anything outside of your sport. When you are a passionate athlete, often you don’t feel you need anything but your sport. That is when it is important to listen to the “voice of reason”. Whether this comes from your parent, coach, a teacher, a mental trainer. Someone other than you who can help you put your sport into perspective. Nam also referred to skating as being a small piece of the big puzzle of life. Taking this healthy perspective and incorporating other interests into your life will ultimately benefit your performance.
I did not know Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya personally but I enjoyed her skating, with partner Harley Windsor. It was obvious she had a passion for her sport and sad her career was cut short by health problems. I imagine it was incredibly difficult to find a sense of purpose everyday after skating ended. I wish she had been aware of her potential in her life after skating. My sincere condolences go out to her family and friends. Such a tragic loss of a skater, but more importantly a young woman, daughter, friend.
Until next time,
Keep your Brain in the Game
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