Team USA stays at the top of their game by training hard, staying in shape — and following superstitions?
Olympic figure skaters are revealing their pre-competition rituals to PEOPLE, explaining the tactics that help get them in the zone before they hit the ice.
For figure skater Mirai Nagasu, who’s competing in her second Olympics, her adorable pups play a big part.
“Pre-competition rituals include nap time, because when competition rolls around I’m a sloth,” Nagasu admits. “I also FaceTime my dogs.”
Ice dancing team Maia and Alex Shibutani, commonly referred to as the “Shib Sibs,” take the opposite approach, and have nixed any pre-competition routines.
“We’ve learned over the years that it’s better not to have superstitions or rituals because you never know what’s going to happen,” Maia tells PEOPLE. “Your phone could die and you might not be able to listen to that one song you have to hear!”
For some other athletes, the debate over to have or not have traditions is a little more complex. Men’s figure skating team member Adam Rippon reveals that it’s not so cut and dry for him, and the superstitions create a dialogue in his head.
“When the pressure’s on sometimes you’re like, ‘Okay anything, a sign! Is there something written in the dirt on the ground that’s going to help me skate better?’ Rippon tells PEOPLE. “And sometimes it’s so hard to just realize, ‘No, you put in the work, just relax!’ So I’m superstitious about not being superstitious so I can enjoy myself.”
The Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.com.