Katinka Hosszu of Hungary recently outswam Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry and Australian Olympic champion Stephanie Rice to win gold in the women’s 400m individual medley at the world championships. And this bit of news, you ask, belongs on a blog about trading and investing? Bear with me. Thanks to the good offices of a journalist friend in Hungary and a Hungarian-American blogger I got a translation of relevant snippets from an interview she gave after her victory. It speaks to the transition from competence to world-class performance. Here I’ll simply share the interview; readers can draw their own parallels to trading.
By way of background, Hosszu left Hungary a year ago to attend the University of Southern California. In the 2008 Olympics she was 12th in the 400m IM.
Reporter: What happened to you in the United States? One can see a big change.
Hosszu: Well, that’s a long story. We talk now as if I started to swim a year ago. My grandfather taught me to swim and very well. So I have him to thank for my good technique, the foundations. . . . Then last September I went to the United States. I got tired of training at home. Often I swam alone, but when I went to the United States I became part of a team. I wasn’t even thinking of the goals. Rather, I went to train because I enjoyed it. Because I like to swim and it was good to be with the others.
Reporter: Did they plant some kind of positive thinking in you?
Hosszu: Yes, my attitude has changed completely. For instance, before the 400 meter medley I didn’t think for one minute about not doing well.
Reporter: Prior to that you did?
Hosszu: Yes, yes.
Reporter: And now that’s completely over with?
Hosszu: Yes, completely. There is no such thing as doing badly. I was in the finals of a world championship and even if I had been number eight the very fact that I was there, among the best eight, was already an achievement. In general in the United States I think positively.
Reporter: Is it true that your coach calls you Miss Rice?
Hosszu: No, he calls me Rice Cooker. For a long time he has been telling me that I have to eat Rice for breakfast.
Reporter: So he wanted to motivate you because of Stephanie Rice. Wasn’t she your most dangerous opponent in the 400 meter medley?
Hosszu: Yes, it was a reference to her name. It was a pun.