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21 Nov 2006
IOC News , museum-news-articles

The Mind Makes a Champion

Next Wednesday, a major new temporary exhibition will open its doors at the Olympic Museum. Spread over two levels, it is open until 2 September 2007. An initiatory journey, the exhibition presents the secrets, formulas and values that combine to form the mental strength of exceptional people and enable them to reach their goals. An educational programme has been created as part of the exhibition, as well as a “Festival of the Mind” with demonstrations, shows, workshops, meetings and discussions on mental preparation with athletes and people in show business.
Journey of three phases
The route of the exhibition The Mind Makes a Champion spans three major phases: Motivation - Preparation - Creation, each illustrating, with the aid of personal accounts, interviews, photographs and films, the obstacles and pitfalls which hinder a career, as well as the mental qualities required to overcome them and push these champions to their limits.
The space devoted to Motivation allows us to discover the childhoods of champions, the time when they begin to take their dream seriously, the reason why they want to become champions. For some, it is the quest for recognition; for others, a desire for emancipation, whether social, political or economic.
Preparation leads us, by its very design, behind the scenes of the sport, where, far from the spotlights and applause, the athlete’s personality is built up, where he cultivates his differences, identifies his strengths and weaknesses, and also develops the very distinct relationship that he has with his coach.
The big day, that of the competition, is symbolised by the last zone: Creation. Now the athlete has to make the most of the years of both mental and physical preparation, deal with the pressure, anxiety and stress, and dismiss any intrusive thoughts in order to strive for the pleasure of the game, or mastery of the perfect performance.
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