From great starts come great things™.
REBECCA SONI - Team USA ATHLETE
100/200-METER BREAST STROKE
Rebecca Soni’s path to Olympic gold began with a splash. “At age 10, after
two years of tagging along with my sister while she went to swimming
practice, my parents decided to throw me in the water with her so we
could both participate in the same sport,” explains the winner of three
medals at the 2008 Games. From that moment on, Soni dove headfirst
Growing up in New Jersey made her early-morning training sessions all the
more challenging. “A lot of times we had to scrape ice off our windshield before
leaving for practice,” she remembers, “so I wasn’t always eager to jump in a freezing-cold pool. But I loved the feeling of accomplishment I had afterward. I was very focused
and wanted to be the best every day, not just when we were racing.” Eating a good
breakfast was just as critical for Soni back then as it is today because of the energy
that meal gives her to help her through her workouts.
Soni’s success in college—where she became the first woman to win the 200-yard breast
stroke for four consecutive years—put the Olympic Games in her sights. “I never thought
about them when I was young, but in college I realized I could go to that level,” says Soni,
who eats a Kellogg’s Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart as a snack during meets.
Her victories both in college and in Beijing are all the more awe-inspiring given that she
underwent minor heart surgery in 2006 to correct a rapid heartbeat condition. The enormity of
it all—especially her gold in the 200-meter breast stroke—isn’t lost on her. “I’ve probably only
seen the video of that race five times since the Olympics,” she says. “When I watch it, I can
almost feel the emotions because it’s still so fresh. It’s really motivating.”
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