We all have dreams. My dream was to be an Olympian. The Olympics are the most prestigious elite sporting competition in the world. The greatest athletes from around the world come together in this event to show what they’ve been training for. It’s the dream of all elite athletes. As a little girl I always hoped to be able to shine at this event. I got older, trained more professionally and four years ago I believed that I was able to make it, with four more years of dedication.

Start with talent, put in hard work and you’ll have the recipe for success. This is the common thought. So why didn’t I make the Dutch team? I do have some talent and worked really hard to be in the best shape of my life. But by missing the entry standard by .73 seconds I realized there is something else needed to fulfill one’s dreams: LUCK.

Compare it with rolling dice. You’ll win by throwing a six. The harder you work the more throws you get and therefore your chances increase, but without a little luck you can end up with a lot of thrown dices, but still no six!

A little luck can be all it takes to fulfill one's dream. ©iStockphoto.com/Dieter Hawlan

Injury last year had a number of knock-on consequences for me. I disappeared from the World Ranking, so I didn’t get into the big fast Diamond League races, while the smaller races I ended up winning with too much front running to get the desired time. I had been beating other qualified athletes throughout the season but it’s that final race time that counts and I wasn’t in the Top 16.

I won Nationals, I’m already back in the top 50 on the rolling World Ranking, I made it to the semi-finals at European Championships in a sold-out Amsterdam Olympic Stadium and all that just a year after breaking my ankle!

I tend to be someone who looks at a glass to see it half empty instead of half full, but I’ve learned the following:

One thing about the Olympic dream is it can often be so big it clouds other dreams. But with that dream vaporized I can see my other dreams more clearly now. I am not done yet. Being back at this performance level easily justifies one more year of the joy and hardship of training and the fun of racing.

Verstegen wasn't able to fulfill her dream of taking part in the Olympics – but instead of mourning it she focuses on a positive mindset and finding new goals. ©Erik van Leeuwen

When we look at the television screen we mostly see the great shots of the athletes that did make it to the Olympics and their successes in Rio show us that dreams CAN come true, but if you look closer at the athletes in the background, you will see them picking up the first pieces of shattered dreams, like I’ve had to do in recent weeks.

Dream big, but don’t be afraid to accept smaller results.

Want to find out more about Sanne’s journey?

Here’s her tips on overcoming setbacks.

Read More


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by Christina 11.08.2016
Congratulations on this inspiring article, Sanne. Great lesson in life!



- The Like Me CIC