year of dealing with my injury, I was back on the slopes in
time for the 1997 World Championships in Nagano, Japan, site
of the following year's Winter Olympic Games. I couldn't
wait to show the world that Nikki Stone was back. What I
didn't realize was that the world hadn't waited while Nikki
Stone was recuperating.
with the same jumps I had perfected before my injury, I found
that many of my fellow athletes had increased their degree of
difficulty and were performing more advanced jumps. Even
if I executed my maneuvers perfectly, it would still be a long
shot for me to make it to the podium. I ended the World
Championship finals in eleventh place.
I'm not stupid. I knew eleventh place was a long way
from where I needed to be in order to stand atop that
salt in my wounds, a sports journalist wrote, "Nikki
Stone will never stand on the podium again." Ouch!
I had two options: feel sorry for myself and fall victim
to what the reporter had to say. Or prove him wrong by
sticking my neck out and believing in myself.
decided to take that second option and prove that journalist
wrong. I was going to build my confidence to do some of
those more difficult jumps so that he would have to eat his
words. No one was going to count me out.
back from such a severe injury, I had a big task in
front of me. I was trying to instill
confidence in myself at a time when I was just
rebounding from my lowest low. I had to
remember that I was actually jumping again when ten
doctors had told me it wouldn't be possible.
That alone was something to be proud of.
I did know that, to accomplish my goals, I needed to
step up my game. Doing harder jumps was going
to prove to be just as big a challenge since I was
so afraid of heights. Double flips require you
to jump thirty feet high. To do triple flips,
I would have to launch myself fifty feet in the
air--the height of a five-story building. I
felt queasy looking down from such a height.
How was I going to tackle this timidity? I had
to concentrate on my successful acrobatic and
landing abilities, and try to ignore my fear of
I continued preparing for the Olympics, I realized
the jumps weren't the only thing I needed to
change. My practice had to be much different
than it was four years earlier. I knew it was
important to keep my peripheral vision on the
competition, but if I was only worrying about their
training, I wouldn't be focusing enough on my own
practice. If I was in a sprinting race and
turned around to see what the other runners were
doing, they would blow by me. I had to keep
looking forward and worry about my own progress,
pushing full steam ahead.
my strengths and determining my most appropriate
preparations gave me the confidence I needed.
And my confidence gave me a shot at proving that
is not something we are born with. It's
something we develop. We all have the ability
to develop confidence. We have to be willing
to stick our necks out, knowing that we may feel a
bit uncomfortable at first. But it will pay
Peter T. Mcintyre said, "Confidence comes not
from always being right, but from not fearing to be
you know you have better odds at winning the
lottery than an Olympic medal? To bring
home one of those coveted medals—or achieve
any great personal goal in life—you need a
lot more than luck. You need a game
plan. What if you could learn the
secrets of success from an Olympian? A
Nobel Prize winner? A Fortune 500 CEO?
Along with anecdotes from her own dramatic
journey, Olympic gold medalist Nikki Stone has
compiled a treasure trove of compelling
stories to illustrate each step on the path to
success. She’s gathered humorous,
heartwarming and hugely inspirational tales
from some of today’s most brilliant business
leaders, scientists, soldiers, inventors,
philanthropists, musicians, athletes and
entrepreneurs…a host of people whose very
names epitomize achievement.