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Abby Wambach on ‘Rise As One’ Series and How Mental Grit Gets You Through Anything

Written on March 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm , by

She’s the highest all-time goal scorer in women’s professional soccer, and one of the toughest players to hit the field. Teammates like Mia Hamm and Christie Rampone have declared her a warrior; someone they love working with. She was a part of the winning 1999 World Cup team, and plans on bringing home another title in in 2015. I’m talking about superstar athlete Abby Wambach, who took a few minutes to chat about the new documentary series she’s a part of and how she mentally pushes through crazy-intense workouts day after day. Take it away, Abby!

What can viewers expect if they tune in to the new documentary series Rise As One?

It’s a six-part series that showcases different stories in and around the world that relate not only to sport, but how the human heart can actually push forward a nation or team to be bigger or better than they ever thought possible.

Your episode airs tonight—why did you want to work on it? 

My episode is called Power of Unity and it’s about the Japanese team and what they went through in the 2011 World Cup [four months after a tsunami hit their country]. That was a time in my life where what I experienced and what the Japanese team experienced was, I thought, very different. I think it’s really important [for people to watch] because it’s easy to get stuck inside your own bubble. To realize there are bigger and more important things going on in the world than a game is important, but then to also be able to take comfort and you know, grieve, in the game is also a really big positive. I think the country needed that.

Your teammates always speak very highly of you. Anyone in particular that you really look up to? 

I feel honored that they feel that way about me because I feel the exact same way about all of them. As time goes on, your body ages and you have to let the younger kids run a bit more. I’m honored that I’ve gotten to play as long as I have. And Mia [Hamm] was one of those players, at that time of my career, that really shaped how I looked at the game and how I played it.

Your workouts must be insane to play strong for such long periods of time. How do you mentally prepare for a game, or an intense workout? 

It’s hard to consistently put your body through torture, in some ways. You’re pushing your body to the limit almost every single day. And that can get tiring. Not feeling that you can ever have an easy day becomes a state of mind; being tired and being exhausted becomes a state of being. You have to prepare to be in pain for a 90-minute game.

Is there anything in particular you do, then, when it seems to become unbearable – the physical pain?

It really is mind over matter. My teammates and I, I’m proud of the fact that we can push through exceptional amounts of stress. If you learn to accept the pain and the fact that it’s this constant that will be there throughout the workout, that will really help you push through and do what you need to do.

Tune in to see Rise As One tonight, March 25th at 8pm ET on FOX Sports 1. 

Photo courtesy of AbbyWambach.com

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Soccer Star Abby Wambach on Getting Ready For the Olympics

Written on June 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm , by

USA's striker Abby Wambach (Photo courtesy of Arnold and Orowheat Bread; ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

With the London Games less than a month away, we can barely stay in our seats with anticipation. Now imagine what it’s like for an athlete who’s actually competing. We talked to gold medalist Abby Wambach about how she feels in the days leading up to the Games, her training and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

How are you mentally preparing for the Olympics?
It’s an ongoing process; for me it’s been a 30-year process and lifelong dream to represent our country in the Olympics. It’s an honor and even though I’ve been in the Olympics in the past, I still feel like pinching myself. Right now, I’m training my hardest and focusing on the little details to give us the edge.

What’s a typical day of training like for you?
Training varies depending on the schedule of the tournaments and games. My daily routine involves waking up, having a smoothie for breakfast, working out or going to practice with the team, going home and having a sandwich. In the afternoon, I’ll either lift weights or do something regenerative like a cold plunge or a massage.

When you’re not playing soccer, what other fitness activities do you enjoy?
I like all kind of sports: tennis, mountain biking, anything that involves cardio. It’s nice to go for a run without a watch or a heart rate monitor; anything that keeps me active while having fun.

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