DivineCaroline: Congratulations on winning the gold medal and breaking your own world record. That deserves a double WOW!
Rebecca Soni: Thank you! Yeah I had three world records this meet. Two in the same event and one with the medley relay. It has been so amazing. While the world records mean a lot I am also getting my best times since four years ago in Beijing.
DC: What do you see when you look in the mirror?
RS: I see what happens when you put a lot of hard work into something you love. It might take a while to get there but I have to say it has been a blast and so much fun too. To go under 2:20 has been my secret goal for so long. To get that by half of a second, to me, is so amazing.
DC: Has it hit you yet what you just accomplished?
RS: I don’t think it has totally sunk in as of yet. I haven’t even watched my race in the 200 where I won my gold or the medley relay. I think once I see that it will hit me.
DC: Describe what you are feeling?
RS: It has been such an amazing fun time all around. I was so nervous going through trials and when I made the team I thought, WOW! This is what it is all about. I promised myself I was going to have fun with it.
DC: And did you?
RS: I remember walking into the Olympic Village for the first time and meeting the girls in my suite. I remember us running through the dorms and looking around it was so cool. We were talking about all of the fun we were going to have living there for a few weeks and achieving the dream of winning a gold medal. I am just trying to absorb the whole Olympic experience and hopefully visit other sports to support all of the other teams.
DC: Do you feel any different having all of these fancy titles next to your name?
RS: I am the same person yet at the same time I am really happy with myself and what I have accomplished. While I am proud of myself I don’t see the label of gold medalist or Olympian. If anything I am just proud to achieve a lot of my goals.
DC: How do you stay so clam knowing there are billions of people watching you on TV, your family is in the stands, your team mates are counting on you and you have to impress the judges?
RS: I think a lot has to do with your training and the preparations they teach you. I have rehearsed this moment over and over in my head. I have practiced at other meets for a big finish. When I am on the blocks to me it is the same routine as other meets. I just get in my zone and force myself to relax. I know it sounds impossible but when you finally touch the wall it is such an incredible feeling and one I will cherish forever.
DC: Many people talk about the sacrifices they have made along the way to get to this moment. Have you given anything up to achieve your Olympic dreams?
RS: There are definitely sacrifices you make along the way. Whether it was in high school and I didn’t have time to hang out with friends because I had to be in the pool, I kept saying to myself this is what I love to do. When I think about how swimming is my passion I don’t think I gave up anything per se. My family also deserves credit for all of the hard work they put into my sport and supporting me.
DC: Who inspires you?
RS: So many people along the way. One of my coaches always told me eight years ago I could get to this moment if I work hard. I didn’t believe him because I was no way near where I am now but he pumped it into me that I can. When I was in the water I just heard his voice over and over saying, “you can do this” and I did.
DC: Where do all of these Olympic medals go?
RS: I take them with me. I love taking them to clinics to show kids what they too can achieve with a lot of hard work. There is nothing more fun than handing my medal to a kid and watching their face light up. I love watching their expression and encouraging them to go for one too.
DC: Speaking of down time, what do you do when you are not swimming and setting world records?
RS: It has been a while since I have had any free time (laughs). When I do get time off I love to road trip and be in the middle of nature. I love walking on the beach, hiking and just soaking in the beautiful world we live in.
DC: OK, you won the gold. Training is over. What will Rebecca indulge in to celebrate her big win?
RS: I love eating healthy and cooking my own meals. It is just the way I was raised. But I confess, I do have a sweet tooth and I do love my chocolate, especially a warm chocolate chip cookie.
DC: Have you had one yet?
RS: This is a funny story. After my last race I was desperate to find a good chocolate chip cookie. It was 2am after all my media interviews wrapped up and all I could think about was this cookie. So I snuck into the basement of the dorms where they have snacks. I saw a plate of cookies that had been sitting out there all day. As sad as this may sound I took a stale cookie and ate it to celebrate (laughs).
DC: Was it worth it?
RS: No. It was stale. (laughs)
Just days after breaking the world record to win a gold medal in the 200 meter breaststroke, Olympic champion Rebecca Soni sat down with DivineCaroline to talk about her astonishing performance at the 2012 Olympic games in London. She offered up wise words and inspiration that may just get you through the next four years. At the least it will ramp up your Wednesday. I mean, if this lady can break three world records, the rest of us might be able to make it through the rest of the work week.