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July 12, 1976

Gymnasts Must Tune Up Body and Mind

JAMA. 1976;236(2):176-177. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270020046025

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"The night before, often weeks before, sometimes months before a competition like the Olympics, the gymnast mentally can picture both extremes—winning or crashing and burning."

Thus combining the terminology of two of his worlds, gymnastics and flying, Lt Col Karl Schwenzfeier sets the psychological stage of the individual on the apparatus.

"In most sports, you don't know what the precise game situation is going to be. In gymnastics, you know 90% of the factors. You can go through the routines in your mind months before the big meet toward which you are pushing."

When the actual moment comes, says the colonel, "as you warm up your body for your routine, you are warming up mentally. Then you are out there. It is time for you to raise your hand, signaling that you are going to begin the routine. The whole mental-psychological process is trying to reach a culmination so that,