Olympic medalist Martins Rubenis from Latvia started learning luge when he was nine years old.
Beginning in the 1990s, he started competing and won many international competitions. But despite his initial success, he felt like his body was already wearing out.
“I was in my 20s, but I felt like I was 45, because my back was hurting, my muscles were hurting, and I couldn’t really do my best in sports as I had been doing,” said Rubenis.
In 2005, he started a spiritual meditation discipline called Falun Dafa, or Falun Gong—and came to realize it was actually his mind that he needed to work on. He needed to become a better, more selfless person. Surprisingly, his back pain started to go away.
In 2006, he took home a bronze medal in the Olympic Games’ men’s singles event, marking Latvia’s first Winter Olympics medal. For this honor he was named Latvian Sports Personality of the Year. At the 2014 Games, he won another bronze in the team relay event.
“Before practicing, I [saw] all the things I do not like in life as trouble. But now, I think these are opportunities,” he said.