Get Motivated

An Interview with Champion Figure Skater Michael Weiss


Michael Weiss, a two-time National Champion, World Bronze Medalist and Olympian chatted with Dr. Caroline Silby about his perspectives on motivation in a two-part interview.

On the Early Years

Skating was something that differentiated me from everybody else and got me attention from my parents and friends and coaches. I was just motivated by the fact that I was getting praise and getting recognition. I felt like I had to skate with the best skaters in the world everyday in order to be motivated to get better. And then I went through this stage in my late teens where I realized that the motivation comes from inside you and you have to be able to do it yourself.

On Being the Champion

It's very easy to push yourself when you're trying to chase number one. I read a great quote about three weeks before the Nationals, "In order to be number one you have to train like number two." That's so right. I have to train like I'm trying to knock off whoever that other person is, not like I'm trying to defend. Michelle Kwan has said "You're not going to World Championships to defend your title you're going there to be World Champion and try and win." And that's the only way you can look at if you are going to be successful.

On Motivational Support

My wife Lisa has basically been my sports psychologist for the past four years. I know that there is no way that I could have been as successful if she hadn't come in my life. I had the physical ability to get things done but there wasn't that motivation. She reminds me everyday of all the things that I want to achieve. Sometimes I'll kind of wimp out on things and I won't really notice I'm doing it but she'll remind me and say, "That's such a cop-out. You can land 80-90 percent of your quads in practice." Then, I go back and I say, "Okay, maybe she's right." And that has nothing to do with my ability. That has to do with my motivation and wanting to land 80-90 percent in practice. So, I think support plays a huge role.

On Motivation and Success

When you're on your own it's easy to think of cop-outs and little excuses. You need to have someone remind you that you can do these things and say, "If you're going to be the World Champion or whatever your goal is, these are the things that you are going to do." Whenever I put my mind to something and I'm motivated to do it, I almost always achieve it. That's a pretty cool thing lately. The big difference between number one and three or four is the fact that number one is the guy who is really motivated and mentally strong and determined to win. It's not that number one is that much more physically capable than the other person. It's just that they are motivated. They're the ones that want to win.


About Caroline Silby

Caroline Silby, Ph.D., M.Ed holds a Doctorate and Master Degree of Sports Psychology from the University of Virginia. Her specialty is performance enhancement with adolescent athletes and she's worked with Olympic Champions in gymnastics and figure skating. As an elite athlete, Dr. Silby was a member of the National Figure Skating Team.

She later served on the U.S. Figure Skating Association Board of Directors and Athlete Advisory Council. Dr. Silby was appointed to the US Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council, Collegiate Sports Council and Finance Committee.

Currently, she assists the Women's Sports Foundation as a member of their Advisory Council and is a faculty member of both the USA Gymnastics and the US Figure Skating Association training camps. Dr. Silby is working on her first book titled, Games Girls Play to be published by St. Martin's Press in 2000. She resides in Washington, D.C. and has an active national practice.


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