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What It Takes to Be an Olympian
By Anne Leitheiser, Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Emily Cook talks to Scholastic Student Reporters (from left) Anne Leitheiser and Mackenzie Korbus. Emily is an Olympic Skier, specializing in freestyle aerials.
Emily Cook talks to Scholastic Student Reporters (from left) Anne Leitheiser and Mackenzie Korbus. Emily is an Olympic skier, specializing in freestyle aerials.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman )
It takes an exceptional person to be an Olympian. He or she has to be determined, focused, committed, and tough, both physically and mentally. At the USOC Media Summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Scholastic News Online was able to talk to Olympic hopefuls about what made them special and what it means to be an Olympian.

"Being an Olympic athlete means having a very strong work ethic, loving what you do, being a great team player, and also being good at what you do as well," said Emily Cook, a freestyle aerialist on the women's ski team. "But I say by just loving what you do will help you end up being successful at it."

Reporters also asked the Olympic hopefuls for advice to young people who want to become an Olympic athlete.

Timothy Goebel, a figure skater, said it's important to set a goal.

"Pick a dream and follow it to your greatest extent," he said. "A lot of people are given a lot of talents and you just have to find what you're best at and then put your heart and soul in it. You can achieve anything you want to."

Wendy Wagner, a cross-country skier, agreed. "There's so much going on in kid's lives, but if you have a dream, hold on to it," she said.

Not just anyone can be an Olympic athlete. Those who have reached this goal seem to have a common mindset that goes far above and beyond that of the average person or even the average athlete.


Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.