The Power of Support

How the power of her fans’ support fueled the world champ triathlete Caroline Steffen to continue her race.

You finish, no matter what. –Caroline Steffen

“You have to finish the race, if you can somehow. Because in my case, I have so many people who support me, who are behind me, and there are a lot of fans who are actually believe in me I can do really well in it.”

She is a triathlete whose love for the sport has taken her all over the world. Her victories have earned her the nickname of “Xena, Warrior Princess.” She is Caroline Steffen.

At this point, Steffen may seem like an immortal, but like any other athlete, she has been met with moments when her faith in her ability to compete was shaken. In a story published on her blog, xenasport.com, she shared the physical and emotional struggles she went through just this year that almost made her almost give up triathlon competition altogether.

“Ill in January, food poisoning in February, chest infection in May, injured after crash in Cebu August, sad breakup with longtime partner David and food poisoning again 2 weeks out from Kona.”

Eleven days away from her biggest race of the year, the IronMan World Championship in Hawaii, Steffen was still being fed with blended food through a straw – the end of a result of a string of bad luck that made her think that perhaps she should sit this year out. It was was when Steffen was at her lowest that she received a phone call that would turn everything around.

Despite everything that happened to her, when Steffen was at her lowest, it was the encouraging sound of a friendly voice that made her decide to push through with the race. Realizing that there were thousands of people who looked up to her (her Facebook page alone has nearly 9,000 followers), Steffen found the strength inside to put her best foot forward, and rise to the challenge.

When news of her pushing through with Kona 2015 broke, the fans were quick to wish her luck in the upcoming event. To her followers, Steffen is as positive a symbol for strength and accomplishment as Xena ever was, and she wasn’t about to let them down. For Steffen, the messages, posts and other assorted online encouragement were just what she needed to never give up and prove herself in the true spirit of IronMan.

For the record, Caroline Steffen finished that race, spurred on by a premoise to herself that she would “Finish no matter what” – such is the power of support. When an athlete is in pain and struggling to finish a race, one can find the motivation to keep moving forward from those who matter to them the most.

Steffen had one more thought throughout that grueling race day: “Where there is love, there is light”. Thanks to the love of her supporters, Steffen found her light.

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