See Inside April 2005

The Will to Win

More and more athletes are engaging in mental workouts to give themselves that extra edge

The Olympic stadium was silent. The spectators held their collective breath. The 100-meter finalists, crouched against their starting blocks, raised their backs as the starter raised his pistol and announced, "Set...!" Each powerful sprinter, poised to explode when the gun went off, was keenly aware of what hung in the balance. They had trained to exhaustion every day for years to prepare their bodies for this one race.

But had they disciplined their minds? The runner who would break the tape would need more than strong muscles, heart and lungs. He would need concentration, control, confidence--and an unerring eye on the finish line. At this tensemoment, one mistimed twitch could cause a false start and cost him the race. But if he eased off in any way, his first steps would lag behind those of his competitors, guaranteeing a loss. "Bang!"

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