Winners on Winning


At the moment of victory, nerves and eerie calm.

LINDSEY VONN Won: Olympic gold in downhill skiing

The entire morning on a race day is a ritual, solely designed to give me confidence. When I wake up, I do a workout and usually listen to rap, and it gets me into that kind of aggressive state of mind. When I'm actually in the starting gate, I'm pretty calm. I've already visualized the course a hundred times and know exactly what I have to do.

KEN JENNINGS Won: 74 straight Jeopardy! shows

In the moments leading up to the game, I remember this odd dual feeling, where you're so excited you're calm, or maybe you're so calm you're excited, as everything gets quiet, and the announcer gets ready to read his opening spiel, just this great feeling, pregnant with possibility and importance. It sort of got addictive. Although the high was never as great as the first time.

TINA THOMPSON Won: four WNBA championships

Winning makes you want it more. It's a really weird thing. People who haven't gotten the opportunity to win yet, they think that once you reach the championship or whatever your goal is, you think, OK, I'm going to be satisfied at that. …

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