Olympic Learnings

It’s just two days since the Olympics wrapped up and I already miss them!  I work out of my home so I had the opportunity to watch a lot of the Olympics.  While admittedly I saw more water polo than I needed, I also saw many other great sports!  It was motivating, exciting, inspiring and I loved watching team USA shine. While I didn’t get to win a medal, I did pick up some gold medal tips! Here’s what I am taking away from the London Games:

1.  You don’t have to win a medal to be a hero!  The true sportsmanship was shown by athletes such as Kirani James exchanging race numbers with Oscar Pistorius after besting him in the qualifying rounds.  How about Michael Phelps sharing the spotlight with his team mates when clearly the press wanted to focus on him during interviews after his final relay.  Real winners have a presence, attitude and supportive nature… and that’s something all of us can gold medal in if we want to!

2.  Injuries happen to everyone but winners don’t give up.  As the announcers spoke of the hurdles these athletes overcame to make the games or ongoing struggles with nagging injuries – it was clear – injuries happen to everyone sooner or later. The difference is Olympians don’t give up and throw in the towel when I tight hamstring gives them issue.  They find ways to keep working on it and keep reaching for the gold.  How often do we use an injury as an excuse to quit?

3.  It takes hard work – I heard countless interviews with Olympians both from the USA and other countries.  Not one of them said- I’m just naturally gifted and don’t have to work at it.  Well – ok- correction- Usain Bolt isn’t the most humble athlete but I’m sure he works hard too!  Ryan Lochte tosses 300 lb tires around before getting in the pool.  Allyson Felix has been practicing jumping with weights dangling from her waist.  And many of the gymnast have continued to train hard through injuries.  Least you think- well it’s just natural talent – these folks work hard just about every day.  And hard work pays off!  What could I accomplish with hard work?

5.  Champions don’t give up.  I’ll admit it – I love those stories of Olympians overcoming obstacles.  One of the USA sprinters, Bryshon Nellum, was shot in both legs and then worked hard to recover, run again … and medal.  Wow.  I’m sure no one said- “Hey, I beat you’d be a good candidate for the 2012 Olympics” while he was in the hospital. This man clearly had the attitude of a champion and the spirit to keep going. What kind of attitude am I bringing to my workouts? Do I believe in myself or do I talk myself out of my potential by listening to negative thoughts and the aches and pains?

6. It doesn’t happen overnight.  I heard countless stories of Olympians who missed qualifying for the 2008 Olympics like Jen Kessy and April Ross in beach volleyball or didn’t perform well if they made it like Sandra Richards-Ross.  But they set their sights on better things and worked hard for four years!  How many of us can say we’ve stuck to a goal and worked for it for four years?  Most goals are short sighted- looking good at the beach next month, running a faster 5K this fall.  What would happen if we set a really big long range goal and worked towards it little by little?  The results could be great!

While I’ll miss watching the Olympics – I’m going to try to keep the Olympic spirit alive with my training, my attitude and how I teach.  I can be supportive of other’s efforts, set bigger goals, keep a positive attitude, work hard and be the champion of my own personal Olympics!

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