How Two Decisions Led Me to Olympic Glory – Steve Mesler

How Two Decisions Led Me to Olympic Glory – Steve Mesler


One day, I found myself
at the top of a mountain, one descent to go, one last chance
to fulfill a lifelong dream. I wasn’t even old enough
to walk into a PG-13 movie alone when my dream took roots. Yet there I stood, my three teammates by my side, facing the opportunity to make history. My mind wandered, just for half a second, but that half-second was filled
with a lifetime of memories, and two decisions that brought me
here to the top of the mountain. I made the first decision
after a very challenging period in my career as an athlete — five years of recurring injuries
as a track athlete. Five years — that’s a long time
to dedicate to anything. But as much as I loved track, the injuries were slowly killing
my drive and my dreams. My injuries had me feeling like a failure at a sport I was once great at. The last of the series of injuries
required major elbow surgery. As I sat on my couch, days out of surgery, I thought of an old coach
and mentor’s words, comparing me to a great
bobsledder he once knew. “Bobsled? No way!” But after year upon year
of not reaching the goals I set for myself in track, it was time for a change. So I reached out
to the US Olympic Committee, and they told me to start training. I was going to be a bobsledder! I didn’t know anything about it, but the first decision had been made. There I was, in what felt like
a blink of an eye later, about to push my four-man
sled with my team to the chance of Olympic gold,
Olympic glory. “Back set! Front set! Ready and –” the driver yelled, and off we went. We dug as deep as we could, and as the cadence of our steps increased
and the sled accelerated, we left everything we had on the track, before leaving the ice
and boarding our Night Train sled. And a calm came over me. And once in the sled,
as it was picking up speed, for just another millisecond, my mind went back
to that day on the couch. “How can I train for the bobsled
team without getting hurt over and over again like before?” I looked in the mirror
and realized I still wanted to compete. I still wanted to succeed. But I had to face the reality
that my getting hurt wasn’t to be blamed elsewhere. I realized that if I had a problem
it was up to me to change it, and that what I had
been doing all this time may not have been best for me. I had to confront my reality
and make a change, and that was the second decision. The decision in my mind not to get hurt
anymore had many layers, but it mostly had to do
with taking responsibility for all the variables in my life. If I thought something
I would do or something I felt would lead me to injury,
then it most certainly would. I would have to have
a fundamental shift in mindset. I learned to let go of the fears I had
trained myself to have over the years and decided to trust myself and my body to push through situations I had
thought insurmountable before. What followed those five years of injuries were nine years of not missing
one race I entered for the USA National and Olympic teams. Because I made a decision,
then another one, and held true to those two decisions, I found myself back with my team
approaching 90 miles per hour. And as we came around the last corners,
I could hear the crowd cheering and the cowbells blaring, and a hard
“You!” coming from the masses as we passed by at 95 miles an hour. But someone wasn’t yelling “You!”
at us, they were yelling “USA!” We were moving so fast,
we only heard the first piece of it. We then came around the last bend, and when we all looked up,
the clock simply read “1.” We had done it; we were
Olympic gold medalists. We were the best in the world. My hands went up immediately, as the moment I had been waiting for
my entire life had finally come true. And as our sled slowly came to a stop and I looked into the crowd
to see my mom, dad, sister and family
and friends crying for me, I knew my decisions had been worth
the sacrifice, worth the fear. Two decisions and those five minutes
sitting on that couch began to change my life, and sticking to them fulfilled my dreams. It was those decisions
and standing by them that ultimately gave me the confidence
to perform at the Olympic games. What two decisions
can you make and stick to that will change your life forever? I challenge you to look
at what you’re doing in your life and think of what you dream to do.

60 Replies to “How Two Decisions Led Me to Olympic Glory – Steve Mesler”

  1. omg, is that true? i've always wanted to go in one of those things since i saw one on top gear racing a rally car… congratulations!!

  2. I know this will be unpopular but I agree with you and most people agree with you too. That is why bobsled athletes don't get huge advertising deals and are much less well known than the gold medal track athletes.
    Good on the guy for following his dream. His lesson is still a good one but I have more awe and respect for my pharmacist.

  3. Since you've obviously never been in or even bothered to research the sport of bobsledding, you would of course think it requires no skill or interaction with the sleigh.

  4. I would assume so. I don't know much, but the basics seems to be. Be a good runner and everyone keeps the same fast pace. Jump in the bobsled quickly before it's too late, and brace the sled at high speed while trying to make it not flip.

  5. just think about what the Olympics would be like if everyone was included in sports and everyone tried every sport. I know its a what if scenario, but it would be amazing.

  6. Pretty much. but there are slight things that matter alot. Mainly its just being really smart or paying somebody to be really smart for you to give you better weight better slip, etc. but its also a little physcal skill. pushing off and sprinting that 20 meters as fast as you can go. then makeing four people all hop in one sled while going close to 20 mph etc.

  7. I was concerned about bobsled-related injuries, so I convinced myself I can avoid them by deciding not to get hurt. Reminds me of the Team America scene where the main guy promises not to die.

  8. Gave me goosebumps because I recently started down this path on two different aspects of my life (although nothing as big as the Olympics). I'm gonna have to remember to come back to this every now and then to renew my motivation. 🙂

  9. Either you get satisfied, enjoying your life and accomplishments – Or you do as Schwarzenegger did, stay hungry and seek the accomplishment of new dreams and challanges.

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  12. God. I’ve grown to be extremely green with envy towards my cousin. He has been alone endlessly. By a cheat, he has got a model to deeply love him in weeks. How is that possible? He explained to me he tried the Cupid Love System (Google it!) I wish someone attractive told me that… I’ve never seen him so cheerful. Kinda makes me frustrated.

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