Sunday, August 24, 2008

Everything I need to know I learned watching the Olympics

1. Winning has more meaning to some

Korea's baseball medal meant a lot more than gold and pride to their country to the Korean mens baseball team, it also meant they where exempt of two years in the military. Sometimes you can see that an individual is obviously better but there are times where the skills are so close it takes mental edge to win, aligning yourself with strong reasons of why you want to be the best will mean the extra kick you need to win.


2. When is meant to be, is meant to be

This was apparent watching Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, their medals where no accidents, better put the time training; you can't fake greatness

3. When is not meant to be is not meant to be

It was painful to see Deena Kastor, Marie Helene Premont,DNF and Mike Brown fail to get a medal by finishing 4th by a 100th of a second. You can give it your best and still come short, there is no shame, is just part of the allure of competing, you can train, give it all and still come short.

4. Everybody deserves a second chance

From cocaine addict to Olympic gold medalist. Eric Lamaze made his Olympic debut at age 40 after failing to make it to the 2000 and 2004 Olympic after testing positive for cocaine, Eric who grew up with no father and with a mother in jail for drug trafficking he proves that sometimes we need to give ourselves a break.

5. Loosing is part of life so get over it

Adam Van Koeverden was the favourite to win the K1 1000, instead we all watched him finish 8th or second last. Adam was crushed, devastated and confused, Adam was not use to loosing. The next day Adam came back to race the K1 500 and won silver for Canada. Canada's men's eight also won gold after a dissapointing finish in Athens, it proves that to win some, you have to be prepare to loose some. Loosing is part of life, learn from it, then get over it.

6. It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.

This is a quote by Muhammed Ali, I don't think he was referring about being told that at age 40 he was to old to compete, but that is exactly what happen to David Ford the Canadian Kayaker who was dropped by his sponsors for being too old, he had to fund his way to Beijing, he finished and impressive 6th, not bad for an old guy. Sometimes crossing the finish line isn't the biggest challenge we will face, it's the obstacles we have to clear to get there that are the most difficult.

7. Be ready even if the odds are stacked against you

Imagine you are Matthew Mitcham and you are competing in the diving 10 meter plataform. The hosting country has colected gold medals in 7 out of the 8 events that they have competed against. I can only imagine the trememdous mental focus he went through to tell himself he had a chance at gold, it was the most amazing feeling watching him being awarded Gold.

8. Sometimes greatness doesn't finish at the podium

Natalie Du Toit from South Africa didn't finish first, second or even tenth, she finished 16th, yet still the world around watched in awe as she swimed the women's marathon 10K. Natalie lost her leg at a scooter accident, she finished more than a minute behind gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko of Russia yet in our eyes she won more than a gold medal, she won our admiration and respect.


9. Never lose sight of your goal

Watching the last 10 minutes of the triathlon it was hard not to feel sorry for Simon Whitfield when he fell back from the lead group to 4th. He eventually fought his way to a silver medal for Canada, Simon himself was quoted saying that he had to fight the thoughts of in his head that keep telling him, that 4th place wasn't bad, it took focus and determination to fight his way back to the lead group and eventually meant a medal for him.


10. Sports transcend nationality or religion

Watching performances by such amazing athletes like Michael Phelps, Samuel Kamau Wansiru,Usain Bolt,Guo Jingjing,Carol Huynh, I couldn't help but to cheer no matter their skin color. Of course I wanted Canada to do well but watching at an athlete perform to his or her potential, had my respect no matter their nationality.

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