This is the story of Courtney Frerichs who appeared in one of the extraordinary shows at the Tokyo Olympics. But it really is a magical story because who Frerichs is and what he has accomplished this summer is all about the words he repeats over the years.
We are not talking about mantras in the old sense, mantras (“Om”), which in modern life are often associated with yoga and meditation practices.
We are talking about the words and sentences spoken by 28 year old Freirich a thousand times softly and loudly. Words that gave him the confidence to run the 3,000 meter hurdle in Tokyo and hold out until the end to win the silver medal in a race where even the clowns barely gave him a chance on the podium.
“I love these words and phrases because they usually start with practice or a conversation,” Freirich said of his mantra this week while enjoying a vacation with his parents in Missouri. They. “It’s very organic.”
Do spells really make you faster? No one knows that it slows you down. Who doesn’t love hearing a few words about self-confidence in tough times? A 2015 study in the journal Brain and Behavior concluded that subjects who repeated mantras had reduced brain activity, resulting in more focus and relaxation, traits that drive your life. It would be convenient to try.
And when a runner believes that something will help him get stronger or faster, that can be a great thing.
Now some important information for Frerichs.
She grew up in southwest Missouri, where she divided her time between gymnastics and running in high school. He attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which is barely there in Oregon or Arkansas in terms of success. He spent his senior year at the University of New Mexico, where he led Lobos to the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
She won a silver medal on the hurdles at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics, but has always been overshadowed by Emma Coburn, her American compatriot who was a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 world champion at Steelchase.
Freirich said his first contact with magic came at a college in New Mexico, where coach Joe Franklin kept reminding athletes that their year-round quest for the 2015 championship was about the journey, not the destination. .
“That’s very important to us,” he said. “We are favourites, but we never think about the national team. We always think about our direction.”
Franklin often said four words to the team: “Expect nothing. Take it all.”
Freirich had these words in his head in the first minutes of the national championship, when the team started slowly but worked together towards victory.
He had this in mind when he started his professional career in 2016 with the chance to qualify for the Olympics in Rio. He made it into the team and qualified for the Olympic final, where he finished 11th. It was a solid start, especially for the 23-year-old, but he left feeling too safe rather than running like the race was the last of his life.
The following year, as he prepared for the World Cup, he saw a new quote: “Do not be afraid in seeking what burns your soul.”
From then on, his mantra was “fearless”. He says he fought them when he started training and also in battle. At a market in Park City, Utah, he found a temporary tattoo with the word “fearless” and stuck it on his wrist.
On the day of the 2017 World Cup in London, he has plans to ride the flagship package. He followed suit and won a silver medal behind Coburn.
In 2018 his coach Jerry Schumacher kept telling him: “Let go.” To Freerichs, that sounded like good advice and poetry. This became the next spell.
He had words in his head about the final lap of the steep race at Monaco in July this year.
“Those words allowed me to relax and perform rather than push and tighten this tour,” said Freirich. He broke the American record by completing his signature in 9 minutes and 0.85 seconds.
Then something strange happened. Freirich withdrew from the strategy that started his career.