From an interview with Tenley Albright, June 21, 1991
When you were competing internationally, how far into the future did you look?
It scares me when I hear people say, "My daughter is going to be an Olympic swimming champion some day," or when a young skater says to me, "Some day I want to win the world championships." It's nice to have motivation. It's important that it be motivation from within, and not from a coach or friend or family. But I would bet you that most people who have succeeded, even though they had an idea of what they wanted to do, didn't just say, "I want to be... " and then name a title, or say "happy" or something like that. I bet it's because they loved what they were doing. It certainly was for me.
….You do it because you love what you are doing. And you don't say I want to be a certain way or a certain type. It's more a feeling from within, seeing what you can do.
Once my English professor in high school had said, "Why are you doing something as frivolous as a sport like skating? If you are interested in medicine, why don't you just stop doing something so silly?" And I thought, he had a point, but at the same time, I wouldn't be any use to anybody at the age of fifteen as a physician, and I mentioned it to my grandmother afterwards. And I said, "You know, it does sound silly, and it does sound as if I'm doing it just for my own fun." And she said:
"You have an obligation to do the best you can with whatever you've got.
And if you like to do a sport, and you can do part of it well, that's a way of expressing what God gave you…."
I later saw that at the Olympics, where all the competitors from all over the world were there for the same purpose; you feel as if you know each other. You don't pay attention to different political backgrounds, or even to language barriers. You feel as if you know each other, and there is a very healthy bond through your sport. So things that you do that have to do with your sport can affect all other parts of your life too.
Read the full interview: www.achievement.org/achiever/tenley-albright-m-d/#interview