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Figure Skater Rachael Flatt's Winning Ways

Olympic contender Flatt shares her diet, workout, and more.

When a competition comes up, how do you approach it as far as your mental outlook? Do you do visualization exercises, or meditate, etc.? continued...

And, once we are at a competition, I focus on relying on the training -- practice like it is a competition and then you will compete like you practice.  I train hard so that it reflects when I compete.

I also bring homework with me wherever I go.  It takes my mind away from skating for a little bit. 

And we try to watch funny movies or videos. [TV shows] "The Office," "30 Rock"... and "The Daily Show" have been great ways of keeping the pressure at bay!

How do you handle setbacks - for instance, if you’re not happy with your performance, how do you shake it off and move on?

Part of maturing as an athlete is learning from setbacks or less than optimal performances.  Sometimes we watch videos of performances and analyze the programs for technical or performance errors.  If you aren't willing to put the work into improving, maybe it's time to move on to something else in your life. 

With all your training, how do you avoid injury?

I have had a number of injuries over the years, including torn ligaments, sprained ankles, concussions, and bulging discs in my lower back.  The trick is to learn to listen to your body -- learn what are the daily aches and pains and what is not normal. 

My coach has a three-day rule of thumb: If you are still hurting three days after the initial injury and you did not pursue seeing a physical therapist or doctor, then it's time to follow up with a medical professional.

You make skating look effortless - and no doubt, the artistry is something you work very hard on. Do you think that’s something that people are born with or they can learn?

For me, I would have to say my love of skating is innate, but as [figure skating legend] Dorothy Hamill always tells me, I must work hard in order to achieve results and truly enjoy myself. So I think that people can learn if they put in the hard work and I also think this applies to most things in life, not only skating.  

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