In this episode of ‘The Mental Series’, we interviewed Aleksandr Khoroshilov, Russian Alpine Skier and 10 World Cup podium holder. Khoroshilov has shown the ski world that anything is possible with the right state of mind, providing one of the greatest comebacks in the world cup circuit and manifesting consistency and optimism.
Still roaring with energy, The Russian champion is 37, a father of 2 and 20th on the World Cup Standings for this upcoming Olympic Season. Many thought that Khoroshilov’s set back after three consecutive top 7 seasons meant that his career was coming to an end, but the veteran shut down all doubts with an impressive podium in Wengen 2020.
This electrifying comeback was perfectly timed as the 2022 Olympic season approaches, and could only have been matched with a strong, persistent, and optimistic mentality. We spoke to Khoroshilov about the importance of optimism and consistency, which are two factors that the Russian explained to be most important for him in his career’s success.
Khoroshilov highlights that the 2014 Sochi Olympics was the turning point in his career; after the olympic races, a discussion with his coaches to quit was met by the decision to continue for only one more season, and to focus on only one discipline (slalom) instead of five. In terms of his mentality, Khoroshilov made a decision to not overthink, and adopted a ‘nothing-to-lose’ mentality, which ultimately brought him to achieve his first 3 podiums in the next overall slalom standings; “I will just go.. this is the last season so just go for it”. This mentality continued to drive Khoroshilov’s successes for the next two seasons, keeping ranks 5th and 6th in the corresponding 2016 and 2017 winters.
So what happened after 2017? Why did it take 3 years for him to come back to his deserved podium spot? Khoroshilov explained that frustration appeared more prominent the closer he reached the top; he tended to overthink and felt like he had more to lose compared to when he was competing as the ‘underdog’.
This being said, Khoroshilov persevered, trained hard, and underlined the importance of his wife, his kids, and his team in remaining optimistic and coming back to the top: “My coaches, family, and the people around me pushed me to be faster”, explained Khoroshilov, “I had a good support system and only looked at the positives - if you see something positive in your life, focus on that”. The distraction of his kids and his strong support system allowed him to re-distinguish his successful mentality, which was not to overthink, but to think rationally and without too many emotions; “It helped me stay neutral as I don’t think about what’s good and bad but how to solve each problem”.
Khoroshilov teaches us a very important lesson; to focus on the positives. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, and whether it is only one good turn, or ten good slalom runs. Use these positives for motivation and persevere towards your goals, because with optimism and hard work anything is possible.
At VIST, we make sure to build strong support systems in everything from our work space to our high tech performance clothing. Our gear is designed to support and provide comfort to all our athletes so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.