Despite years of careful planning, training, and dedication, sometimes things don't go according to plan. When you're a competitive athlete, injuries are more than just a nuisance — they're career-threatening. Beyond the physical agony, they present a major attitude test, and the ways athletes respond can often be a lesson for life as much as for their sport.More
"One summer I broke both of my elbows on two separate occasions. I injured one while mountain biking and the other when I was clotheslined by a low-hanging wire. It was hard physically because of the pain, but it was harder psychologically because I knew I couldn't prepare for the season the way I wanted to. I was disappointed because I wanted to pick up where I'd left off the year before.
I overcame that disappointment by making small goals and telling myself that I was going to be thrilled when I reached each one. I wasn't going to get bummed out by a number on a result sheet—instead I was going to celebrate everything I was doing right until I was racing at the level I wanted to be.
It's funny, because as soon as I started doing that, I made some really big gains and quickly jumped back to where I had left off."
Caldwell was the first American woman to win a World Cup in a Nordic ski classic event and competed at the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi.
"I have had many injuries in my career. In the early years, I used to get extremely upset and only worry about when I would get back to the waves. [Recently], I dealt with a back injury generated by overuse of my back. I've had a few surgeries, and it's been by far my most challenging injury yet.
One thing I relied on was watching great movies. I loved watching inspirational stories and getting inspired by others during my recovery time. I also focused on doing a lot of things I don't get to do when in top shape and performing out in the world: I spent time with family and friends, and I adventured in some TV work.
I still work very hard to get back in top shape after every injury, but I don't suffer so much anymore along the way. I [try] to appreciate both times in my life—recovery and active — they're very much a part of an athlete's life!"
Gabeira is a five-time Billabong XXL (big wave) winner and has set the record for biggest wave ever surfed by a woman.