The Peter Attia Drive

In this episode, Sasha Cohen, former US Olympic figure skater, discusses the most challenging things about life as an Olympian—the pressures, the expectations, years of sacrifice, but worst of all a loss of identity post-career resulting in many former Olympians suffering from depression. We begin by talking about everything that led up to her unforgettable moment from the 2006 Olympics, and how she handled herself so beautifully in the face of disaster. Most importantly, we talk about post-skating life when she shares many insights such as the downside of constantly striving for a moment, the hollowness of achievement, and the importance of redefining our definition of success.

We discuss:

  • Sasha’s mindset going into the 2006 Olympics as the favorite [6:30];
  • Figure skating basics, scoring, short program vs. long program, etc. [13:40];
  • Sasha’s unforgettable performance at the 2006 Olympics [18:10];
  • Win, lose, or draw, why many Olympians suffer from a loss of identity [32:30];
  • Dealing with the disappointment of “losing the gold” [40:30];
  • The tiny window of opportunity for Olympians, and the overwhelming pressure to meet expectations [49:30];
  • Sasha’s unique childhood, finding figure skating, and channeling her hyperactive personality into becoming an amazing skater [1:01:30];
  • The consequences of extreme training at a young age, and trying to control the uncontrollable [1:10:00];
  • What is driving extreme athletes and Olympians to be the best? [1:18:30];
  • Why many former Olympians and athletes struggle with depression [1:25:00];
  • Refining success—How Sasha overcame her own loss of identity [1:32:30];
  • What advice would Sasha give her 15-year-old self? [1:40:45];
  • Lessons we can learn from watching the rapid downfall of many former Olympians [1:45:00];
  • Advice for people who are tying their identity to being “successful” or striving to be “the best” [1:56:00];
  • Life lessons Sasha wants to apply to being a mother to her baby boy she is expecting [2:05:00]; and
  • More.

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