Being a competitor is as much mental as physical, I imagine. What inspires and motivates you to continue to get better and better at what you do?
The physical part of sport is what comes so naturally. It is the mental challenge that is a constant struggle. It is amazing how strong the mind can be. I couldn’t have accomplished what I have without my family, boyfriend, coach, community and teammates. This continuous support has been critical to my success. Motivation is always there, I create both short-term and long-term goals to keep me going. I work daily with my coach to achieve each and every mark so that I can be at my best in 2008. The experience I had in the 2004 Olympics in Athens was truly amazing, giving me enough inspiration to fuel me for the next four years.
What has been most valuable in helping you deal with the arthritis and not let it prevent you from achieving such amazing success in sports?
Believing that I am no more limited than my competitors. Maintenance is important. I was taking Vioxx for three years until it was taken off the market in 2004. Since then, I have not been taking an anti-inflammatory medication. I attend Bikram yoga once or twice a week. Yoga has helped my hips become stronger and more flexible which has reduced ongoing inflammation.
Were you extremely athletic since you were a child or did you come to sport later in life?
I have been involved in sport since the age of five. My father was in the military so we moved every three years. I grew up in a family of four. Mom-Cam, Dad-Bill, and older brother-Eric. Athletics were a part of life for our family. It was a way to meet people and stay active. Whatever my older brother did I, of course, had to follow. If he was on the swim team then I needed to be on the swim team. It never mattered what sport we played as long as we were having fun.
I imagine that "to exercise more" is a resolution appearing on many Daring Females' lists every year. What advice would you offer to those of us for whom being active and taking part in athletic activities isn't second nature?
Everything in moderation. To be successful, it’s important to have both short and long-term goals. This way you are constantly working towards something each and every day.
I believe that “not having enough time” is one of the top reasons people why don’t exercise. Think of exercise as a bank. Every minute you put in your bank your body will not forget, it will eventually add up and you will notice the difference. If you have ten minutes each day to take a walk, get out there and do it.