Taylor Ritzel is an athletic and academic Superstar! Graduating from Yale University in 2010 with a degree in History where she was also on the rowing team. Taylor enjoys running, swimming and reading – which shows she loved to have an active body and active mind!
Both mental and physical preparation are key for performance. To me, the key word is preparation. If you do the necessary work, testing yourself physically time and time again, you prove to yourself that you’re capable of amazing things. That confidence and perseverance becomes a huge part of the necessary mental preparation.
Outside of sports as a young athlete, my biggest challenges centered around balance. Trying to do well in school, continuing to excel in music and having a social life was difficult, especially while training and competing as an athlete. For me, in order to find a good balance while saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking meant having to really listen to my values and what I found important. I knew that being an athlete was a huge part of my life and something I loved. So, I chose to surround myself with people who inspired me to excel and that made it easy to stay away from bad influences.
Being a part of a team and being a good teammate is a skill that translates to any aspect of life. For me, it made my day to day routine and racing more than about just me. It meant that I wasn’t alone in my pursuit of winning, that each and every person mattered and that my success wasn’t just mine, it was the whole teams’.
Winning isn’t just about getting a gold medal. It took me a long time to realize this. The magic of sport is that it teaches so much along the way, from teamwork to perseverance to sportsmanship, winning is the ability to compete for the sake of competing no matter what the outcome.