Even winners have their doubts, but after making the Sky Sports Scholarship scheme Ellen Keane is in a great place to continue dominating on the world stage.
The 22-year-old from Dublin is already a record-breaker, having become Ireland's youngest Paralympian at the 2008 Beijing Games aged just 13.
She has gone on make three finals at London 2012 and secured a stunning bronze in the SB8 100m breaststroke at the Rio Paralympics. She also made the finals of the S9 100m backstroke and Butterfly finals.
"I had such a strong mindset in Brazil last summer to win and I felt I had to get that medal," Keane said.
"I was anxious, and I was so happy to win the medal and see the joy it brought everyone.
"Being a Scholar is amazing. I had been struggling with belief in myself over the last two years and this is something I needed. For such a big company like Sky to back me has given me a huge confidence boost going forward.
"I'm so grateful and excited. When I went to the Scholarship interview I was so overwhelmed that I had even got an interview out of everybody that applied.
1) Born: 6 April 1995, Dublin
2) Three-time Paralympian
3) Made three finals at London 2012 Paralympics
"I was so nervous and needed to be calmed down! I wanted it so badly I didn't get my hopes up. When I got the email to be accepted I started crying!"
Keane, born with an undeveloped left arm and competes as an amputee, is thrilled about what lies ahead with four years of financial and development support to tap into.
She added: "This year I have a European Championships at home in Dublin and that's a top goal. It's an event that's not happened in Ireland before so that's a big opportunity for me and the team.
"As a Scholar, I'm so excited to see where it takes me to grow as a person and athlete.
"I can't wait to see what happens and how I take everything I learn and apply the skills as an athlete - ultimately for Tokyo in 2020 - and hopefully I'll be getting on podium more than once!"