Though great Olympic athletes come in all different personality types, it’s tempting to primarily associate D-style traits with athletic success. In many ways, the competitive strength of the D personality type makes them naturally suited to Olympic training. A D-style personality has the drive and determination it takes to be the best of the best, and loves the recognition that comes along with winning a medal. But when it comes to being a part of the US Olympic team, there are also many ways that S-style athletes are perfect for the job. What follows are a few of the admirable traits that athletes with an S personality type bring to the Olympics:


1) Cooperation

Though many of the events at the Olympics are individual in nature, every Olympic athlete is still a part of a team. Great Olympic athletes need to be able to put their egos aside, and work together with the rest of their teammates for the greater good of the team. S personalities are loyal and team-oriented, and naturally able to work together with others in a productive and positive way. Jim Craig, the goalie from the 1980 gold medal Olympic US Hockey team says it best:


“My teammates and I were some of the best amateur hockey players in the country. We were all captains, starters, and the best players our college teams had to offer. But when we made the jump to the Olympic team, we couldn’t all be the captain, the starting goalie or the all-star that had a support team built around him. We adapted and did what was right for the team in order to succeed. We put our personal goals aside and focused on the shared dream of the team and it paid off.”


S personality types can easily get behind the idea of the “shared dream,” and are the kind of Olympic teammates that want to make everyone successful, not just themselves.


2) Resilience

S personality types are steady and even-keeled. They aren’t phased by temporary setbacks—If they do poorly in an event, they are naturally inclined to pick themselves up again and try again. They don’t allow anger, fear, embarrassment, or disappointment to get in the way of their performance. Even after a loss, athletes with an S personality are well-suited to come back and win the gold.


3) Commitment

It takes a serious commitment to a training regimen in order to become the kind of athlete that makes it onto the US Olympic team. S personality types are comfortable with routine, and like the predictable nature of a training schedule. They aren’t easily bored or distracted, and don’t crave change in the same way that a D or I personality would. This makes them more likely to happily settle in to a training routine, and commit their time to perfecting their skills. S personalities believe that hard work has its rewards, and are patient enough to wait to see results.


4) Unselfishness

Empathetic and compassionate, S personality types can put the needs of the team above their own individual wants and desires. Olympic athletes often have to sacrifice their own fame and success in order to be a part of the team. This can mean anything from declining endorsement money, to voluntarily giving up a spot in an event so that another athlete can compete. In the Sochi games, for example, Tracy Barnes gave up her spot on team so that her sister Lanny could compete in her place.

For an S personality type, this is the kind of sacrifice they are able to easily accept with grace.


5) Supportiveness

During the games, Olympic athletes are expected to stand at attention when another country’s anthem is being played, to be respectful of the other athletes, to shake hands with rivals, and to smile in the face of defeat. Even when they lose, S personality types are naturally inclined to be supportive and gracious towards the athletes that have won. This reflects very well on the US team as a whole, and shows the kind of collaborative spirit that the Olympics is built on.

If you’re an S personality type, you might recognize yourself in some of the traits outlines above. But what about D, I, and C personalities? What kinds of admirable traits do athletes with C personalities bring to the Olympic competition? How about an I? A C? We’d love to hear your ideas! Let us know in the comments below.


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