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Giving Freedom To Fail Pays Off For Gymnast

Forget the stories of tough coaches that put unbearable pressure on their gymnastic proteg?e to win in the game. Coaches yelling, cussing, and behaving badly isn’t what helped Shawn Johnson finish with the best overall score in the Beijing Olympics trials. It was coach Liang Chow’s words to her:

“Perform like a champion. And don’t be afraid to make a mistake.”

For Shawn, the fact that she isn’t paralyzed by the thought of making mistakes on the beam is why she can relax, focus on doing her best. The result is that she performs near perfect instead.

Shawn, a 16 year old from Des Moines, IA. is now the favorite to win in women’s individual all-around games. The love for gymnastics instilled in her by coach Chow has managed to seep into her performance. Driven to win, yes, but also driven by her love to compete, and the love for her coach.

Chow runs a training facility with wife Liwen Zhuang with a focus on having a “fun, loving and supportive environment.” And often emphasizes to his trainees that they are “sisters”.

That spirit of camaraderie in competition should be emulated in sports everywhere.

Source: NBC Olympics

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