o be a champion, you have to go to strange lengths—and heights. You walk on the edge of the precipice, you make your heart pound your ribs in fear, you make blood rush through your veins; and then, just as you get bruising intimations of mortality, you make the might of your mind still the storm raging inside you. This was the principle underlying Abhinav Bindra’s gruelling training regimen, months before he took the plane to Beijing to create history: since the Olympics
experience can never be simulated, his trainers induced an artificial blood rush in him. He was made to walk a tightrope in Germany, the ground beneath his feet distressingly distant. And though secured from mortal danger, he felt fear like never before—and walked over the threshold of dread into a state of pure fearlessness.
"Here in Beijing, during the final, I kept reminding myself of that. I kept thinking, that was much more scary, much more nerve-wracking than the competition here," Abhinav Bindra told Outlook about his preparations for Beijing. This...