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Losing Is A Virus

Losing is a terrible virus.  It can make you forget how to win.  Even with all of the talent in the world you cannot win if you have the “virus”.  As a counter agent, I thought I’d share excerpts from an article conveying the ideology of an athlete who refused to lose; Vasili Alexeyev.   (The article was written by Dmitri Ivanov and is called “EFS Classic: The Science of Winning According to Vasili Alexeyev”.)  In the 1970’s Vasili set 80 world records and 81 Soviet records in weightlifting.  In 1999, in Greece, Alekseyev was acknowledged as the best sportsman of the 20th century. He was also awarded Order of Lenin (1972), Order of Friendship of Peoples, Order of the Badge of Honour (1970), Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1972). In 1993 he was elected member of the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame.  He was known for his unique training techniques, a ferocious winning attitude, and learning how to perform at the highest levels when it counted most.

When Vasily was asked the reasons for his constant victories, he thought a bit and answered: “If I want something. I will definitely achieve it. No matter what I have to sacrifice … The more complex the situation, the more threatening my rivals, the more I spread my wings in defiance of everything.  …You see, the question is not one of strength, not one of talent. It’s a matter of what’s in the head.  In the physical sense you should, you need to work very hard, but with the nerves– less . . .”

“My method is aimed at increasing the two lift total. We have many outstanding weightlifters in the gyms, but very few at the competitions. Why?  Well, because one must know how to ‘deliver’ one’s strength on the competing platform. The object of today’s trainers is not to teach an athlete the correct way to lift a barbell. Most important, he must teach him to reason and make important decisions independently. Without thought there’s no creation. And without creation, progress in our difficult work is impossible.”

“Do I worry? Well, of course.  If you don’t worry, you’ll never succeed at anything.  In sports, without the excitement of daring, you don’t win victory or records. When I’m too calm before a competition, I rouse myself with hot coffee. The pulse must be beating — no less than 18 times in ten seconds …

” Excitement before competition is very dangerous.  I, of course, have felt it. Sometimes I calm myself –everything happens as it must, and so what happens will happen. I must win, because I have a solid supply of strength.”

“Waiting causes the most anxiety. The heavyweights wait the longest, they put the final touch on the championships. Usually, I do this. And while the others are competing, I can barely stand the noise of the barbells, the monotonous voice of the judge. Everything irritates me and annoys me. In addition to this, I worry about the team. This puts a lot of strain on my will . . .”

‘They say that the strongest wins. But the strongest in what way? I remember, at the time of the championships in Lima, that Reding in training lifted record weights. He had acquired a terrific strength and huge muscles, but he lost to me, even though he was physically stronger. Why? Serge and I had different ways of training. Others thought for him. He carried out the suggestions of his coach, Dupont. Roughly speaking, Reding took in ‘the science of winning’ through his ears. And this showed when he was on his own with the barbell. But, as for me, I thought for myself. Serge also lost because he wanted to beat me. That’s all he thought about. He worried constantly and burned himself out before he even got to the platform . . .”

“For me the most important thing is to beat myself, to lift the barbell that up to this point I have not yet lifted. My rivals don’t worry me very much. It’s good when your competitors are strong and bad when they are weak. The same Reding, now dead, when he appeared without me, beat the records every time. And I treated him respectfully because he always kept me in shape. Now
Enaldiev, Rachmanov, Plachkov, and Bonk do the same …”

“I have observed that many train without sense. They do a great deal of work for nothing.  For example, Falev, an athlete on the Soviet team weighing 110 kilograms, does squats with a barbell weighing 320 kilograms. I don’t use one weighing more than 270kg. There is a difference of 50 kilograms in his favor. But he jerks 220kg, while I jerk 256kg. Thus, it turns out that the result in
the classical exercise is not determined by the strength of the legs …”

“What advice can I give to the young ones who come out onto the platform with their teeth chattering from nerves? First, you must enter a competition well prepared. And for this you must train sensibly; you must work on yourself physically but save your nerves. It doesn’t pay to get excited over nothing while training, to show off your courage, to swagger.  Save this charge for
the contest.  And then be alert when you go up to the barbell . . . And, to be frank, even with all my experience, I am sometimes very nervous—you cannot imagine …”    THE END

Traditional football analysis is being wasted on the Rams.  The Rams need to learn how to win.  Hopefully, the thoughts of this enduring champion will help kill their terrible virus of losing.

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