Carnegie Mellon University
January 31, 2022

The Mind's Edge

Professor David Creswell and Olympian Apolo Ohno share how mindfulness training helps athletes and others

By Michael Henninger

Ryan Scarpino
  • University Communications & Marketing
  • 412-268-2902

This February, the world's top athletes will gather in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, striving to surpass what's possible in human performance. While a lifetime of training the body is required to participate in the games, work by Carnegie Mellon University's David Creswell shows that preparing the mind is just as important for reaching the Olympic podium and in everyday life. 

Creswell, a professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, was joined recently by speed skater Apolo Ohno, the most decorated U.S. winter Olympian, in a webinar discussing the duo's longstanding work to bring mindfulness to Ohno's craft.

Conversation On Training for the Mental Edge from CMU Alumni Association on Vimeo.

Twenty-five years ago, before his two gold, two silver, and four bronze medals, Ohno met Creswell at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. At the time Creswell was an assistant coach and resident advisor with the U.S. Shorttrack Speedskating Team. They began working together to employ new strategies that would change the way Ohno approached competition.

"The work that David has dedicated his life toward really was instrumental in not only the preparation, but also the ... call it the leveling up, so to speak, of my performance, especially in the Olympic space," Ohno said. "I carry a lot of those life lessons and skillsets with me today, in terms of how I manage stress and obstacle and change and uncertainty."

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