Episode 62: Mentality Of An Olympic Athlete (12 Years Old) With Holden McNeil

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Episode 62: Mentality Of An Olympic Athlete (12 Years Old) With Holden McNeil

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Sports, especially in a professional setting, demand so much of athletes at any age, but that’s especially true for young athletes. The sheer determination of young athletes always make for powerful, inspiring stories of passion. Such is the story for twelve-year-old Olympic athlete Holden McNeil. From the very beginning, Holden has been laser-focused, keeping his eyes on the prize, and now he’s reaping his reward: a shot at the world’s biggest sporting event at such a young age. Holden displays wisdom beyond his years, and demonstrates the purity of passion stoked in one’s childhood.

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Mentality Of An Olympic Athlete (12 Years Old) With Holden McNeil

Focused From The Start

I’m sitting here with a grown old mature man. His name is Holden McNeil. He’s twelve. He’s here for a competition. That’s why you came out here to Denver, Colorado. How was that? How did that go?

It went pretty well. I was competing for future star nationals and this only happens once a year. You have to qualify to go to nationals.

You made it happen. You’re also on the national team.

The Olympic Development Team.

The reason why I wanted to bring Holden on here is one, his age, he’s twelve years old and what he’s accomplished already in life is absolutely incredible. I’m inspired by you. Also his drive, he works so hard. He’s consistently working. You’ve been doing gymnastics since four. You started competing when you were six. I believe that not only you could personally get some inspiration from him or you can even show this or bring this to your son or your daughter to read to. Holden has accomplished a lot and his drive is unparalleled. What drives you? What makes you want to be the best gymnast ever? Where does that come from?

CUE 62 | Young Athlete

When people say, “You can’t do this. You can’t do that.” It’s like, “No, I can. You back off.”

Where does that drive come from, where you’re like, “This person said I can’t do this. This person said I can’t do that. I think I can?”

When people are trying to put me down, I’m like, “I’ll use that anger and all that jealousy and turn it into power, turn it into a reason why I should do the things I do.”

When did that start?

It’s not only with gymnastics, but it’s also with everything. Gymnastics, I had a passion for it since I was four. I’ve been athletic all twelve years of my life.

Where does all of this come from? Why do you like gymnastics?

First of all, I like gymnastics because it’s a very physical sport. There’s a lot of dedication. It’s extremely difficult and it teaches you a lot of self-control.

It teaches you to overcome fears, obstacles and the things that are in front of you. Your hard work contributes to where you are now, but also you have to be very strategic. You have to be smart with everything that you’re doing. How does gymnastics compare to your life? What grade are you in right now?

Gymnastics is an extremely difficult sport that teaches you a lot of self-control. Click To Tweet

It’s seventh grade.

You’re going through seventh grade. You’re walking the halls in middle school, how does gymnastics prep you for your life to be more confident? What does it do? What are the things that contribute?

Maybe it’s hard showing off.

Would you say confidence?

It helps a lot with confidence. It’s cool to know that you can do something well and that people can do it. If you do it well enough and if you put enough work into it, people will start noticing it.

CUE 62 | Young AthleteYou enjoy when people notice what you’re doing. Would you say that you’re shaping your life to be one that others will be inspired by? You want to show what’s possible. Is that part of your drive?


Let’s say you’re twenty years old, what would you say, who is Holden McNeil at that point in your life? Who is the twenty-year-old Holden McNeil?

That’s hard. Maybe like a competitive gymnast.

What does competitive gymnast mean to you?

College gymnastics, trying to go forward with gymnastics.

You’re saying to be an Olympic athlete, correct?


In a competition, to do the things you do, you need to be physically and mentally strong. Click To Tweet

What else do you see twenty-year-old Holden doing? Are you acting? Holden is not only into gymnastics and good at that, but he’s also an actor. You’ve also done Ninja Warrior. You’ve been around the block a few times. You have more in your life than I have in two of my lifetimes so respect. Twenty years old, are you teaching other people how to do it? Are you winning at the Olympic level? Where are you? Do you feel like you’re going to still be in California?

I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far yet.

Yeah, because you’re twelve. When you look at your parents, is there anything that you can thank them for? How have they inspired you to be able to be such a great gymnast and be a great person to the people around you and evolve as much as you have?

Maybe everything they do. I have a room. That’s awesome. I have a house.

CUE 62 | Young AthleteWhat else? What did they instill in you that you idolize, you admire and you appreciate?

Teaching me everything.

What are some things that they’ve taught you in your life?

Stand up for myself.

It’s to work hard, to always accomplish whatever is in front of you, to be unique. As you continue throughout your life and you’re 12 years old, 13, 14 and 15. You’re going to lose some, you’re going to win some. What’s one thing that you’re learning right now that you’re starting to see like, “This is what it takes. I need to do this in order to be extremely successful?”

I’m learning right now how to film a podcast.

Notice how easy it is for you to speak on the mic. You were like, “This is crazy. What?” A lot of us, even at a young age, if we don’t do, we end up missing out. You don’t realize how strong and powerful you are. Your confidence level has allowed you to sit in the seat and to be able to be on this show. It all contributes. It’s all correlated. If you’re confident on the bar and doing gymnastics, you’re confident sitting down and talking. You’re confident to meet new people. You had a girlfriend. You’re confident to build relationships with future girlfriends when you get older and it gets serious. What’s one thing that you could tell everyone right now to do, to bring their confidence up, one last thing?

This is something that we went over in the clinics after my competition. It was a clinic and there’s a lady named Elizabeth. She runs this thing. It’s basically like how to be mentally strong because you need to be physically strong and mentally strong. She says that just saying, “I can do this,” five times a day, makes a major difference. Also, if you do any sports or you’re nervous about school, she told us to try to bring yourself up, thinking about something makes your mood change. It makes your body language change.

If you lose, if you fail, what are you going to say to yourself?

I may not have done it this time, but I’ll train even harder next time to win. I want to feel that feeling of victory.

If you do something well, and you puts a lot of work into it, people notice. Click To Tweet

That’s some strong advice from a twelve-year-old, I’m not going to lie that hit me. Essentially, if you say you can, you will. Your whole life you’ve been telling yourself, “I can.” You’ve lost some matches. You’ve lost competitions. It makes you want it even harder.

“I’m a mentally tough athlete,” you say that five times before you walk into the gym and supposedly you are more likely to have a better competition if you say that to yourself five times.

That’s important. Anything positive that you say to yourself five times before you do anything is going to be beneficial for your success and whatever you’re doing, competition, relationships, friendships, everything. Holden, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it. Holden McNeil, you can look him up on Instagram. What’s your Instagram?

It’s @HurricaneHoldy.

CUE 62 | Young AthleteHe is going to be shocking the world as he comes up even further and further into not only a greater competition but hopefully one day in college and the Olympics. Holden, thanks again for coming on here. Remember CreateU is all about igniting your breakthrough and bringing your vision to life. If you are struggling out there, if you’re unsure of yourself, whatever it is, your vision is powerful. If you keep on pushing, you can make it happen. Trust yourself, be positive and make now your absolute success. Thanks for tuning in for the episode of CreateU Experience. I’ll see you next time. Peace.

Important Links:

About Holden McNeil

CUE 62 | Young AthleteL9 Gymnast State & 2X Regional Champ, Official Junior Ninja on #ANWJR – Season 1 & 2, Calisthenics and Parkour Athlete.


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