How Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski motivates herself

Tara Lipinski shot to fame in 1998 when she became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in figure skating history. But this early success never demotivated her.

Instead, Lipinski found success after the Olympics skating professionally on tour and is currently a figure skating analyst for NBC Sports. Even after stepping off the ice for the last time, the same factors that drove her to success in figure skating have helped her in her professional career, Lipinski told CNBC Make It.

“I’m competitive. There’s really no way around it,” Lipinski said. “I like to succeed and I like to figure things out. I find that when you do it – even if it’s not always successful – the process of getting there is exciting and you never know what’s going to happen. “

USA’s Tara Lipinski (middle) raises her arm with a bouquet of flowers to celebrate winning the gold medal alongside silver medalist Michelle Kwan (right) and bronze medalist Chen Lu of China in the women’s singles figure skating competition of the XVIII Olympic Winter Games.

Jamie Squire | Hulton Archives | Getty Images

The 39-year-old says she likes to “pick out impossible things to do” and see if she can accomplish them. She also likes to have an internal “competition” between her and her goal.

“I don’t think I could wake up and just be happy without having something to work towards,” she says. “It’s fun, even if it doesn’t always go your way.”

I don’t think I could wake up and just be happy without having something to do.

Tara Lipinsky

Olympic gold medalist

Lipinski says she decided she wanted to be a commentator in the late 2000s while watching the world championships on TV, knowing full well there were other commentators like Peggy Fleming and Scott Hamilton who were already there. established “in their positions for more than 20 years”. “

But she went anyway. “Why I ever thought that was something that was going to be my next goal is beyond me,” she says. “I knew very well that it might not happen. But I’ve been commentating since 2009, 2010.

“You work hard at [something] and you see where it’s going.”

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