He lay in the warm darkness of his motel room and replayed again in his mind every aspect of his third and final qualifying jump, contemplating what, if anything, he might have done differently. He had come out of the gate with authority and his body position and control on the descent had been a thing of beauty. His take-off had been nothing short of explosive, his lift and distance outstanding and his landing, while not textbook, had certainly been respectable.
In spite of it all…the running, the weights, the diet, he would be returning home not as a champion but merely as another hopeful competitor who had done his best but failed to demonstrate himself to be an athlete of Olympic-quality. Having quit his job, dropped out of college and subletted his apartment he would now have ample opportunity to learn an entirely different kind of strength than he’d cultivated for the slopes.
This story was written for the weekly Five Sentence Fiction flash fiction photo and prompt word: strength.