What Makes a Champion? Part 2 (Frank Carroll)

In a presentation to skaters and coaches at a local seminar a number of years ago, World and Olympic coach Frank Carroll addresses the question, “How do you make a champion?” In the first part of this presentation, Frank focused on trying to define what and who a champion is, and notes that it takes planning, sacrifice, commitment, and courage. In this video, Frank discusses some of the usually unsaid things about what it takes to create an elite athlete champion, such as an Olympic Gold Medalist or World Team Member. He notes that it takes an enormous amount of natural talent, nearly unlimited money, and total and complete family support and sacrifice to achieve that goal.

Frank notes that if he had a child, he wouldn’t let them skate. He explains that he would simply be unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary for them to be an elite skater. He half jokingly says “I’m selfish as a human being” although his service over the years within the sport of figure skating says otherwise. Then he acknowledges the tremendous sacrifices that normal families endure in order for skaters to skate, and he encourages the skaters at this seminar/camp to remember to thank and appreciate their parents for their opportunities to skate.

Returning to his discussion of the necessary commitment to create an elite skating champion, Frank says, “It takes every drop of your blood, every single moment that you’re awake during the day you’re thinking about getting there. How to get there. What can I do better? How can I jump higher? How can I get a beautiful program done? How can I be better than the other guy?” This shows a relentless focus and drive for achieving the goal.

Recognizing that most skaters, even those with lots of talent, do not have the resources or situation to become an elite champion skater, Frank recommends setting realistic but challenging goals and achieving them. He finishes by saying, “Be champi0ns. Be happy. Love skating and be sure to thank your mom and dad for their help.”


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