If you ever think you’ve made it and can rest on your laurels, think of Michael Phelps. He wins his 20th Gold medal – the only person in history to do so, next closest was a tally of 9 gold medals for gymnast Larissa Latynina. Is he thinking “yes, I’ve made it”? No, he’s thinking I still have work to do – and goes on to win another 2 and very likely more.
If you ever think you’re in a bad mood and don’t want to talk to anyone, think of Cate Campbell. After a loss in an event the whole world said she would win easily, she has to immediately stand and explain to the whole world how she feels about it – and graciously. “I’ve always said I didn’t need a gold medal to have self worth and that’s being put to the test at the moment.” What a woman!!
If you ever feel you’re never going to make it because you’re not getting the same opportunities or luck as everyone else, think of Yusra Mardini. After her house was destroyed in Syria, she fled her family, friends and war torn homeland, on a refugee boat with 18 others. When the boat began to capsize she swam and pushed that boat with a couple of others for three hours to shore to save the lives of the remainder on the boat who could not swim. Less than a year later she is at the Olympics.
If you ever need an example of perseverance, think of Fiji: After their country was destroyed by Cyclone Winston, the team still manages to go on to the Olympics and then win their first medal – a mere Gold – in the 60 years since they started attending.
And if you ever think you’re fighting an uphill battle, think of Simone Manuel. Although she is part of a population where 70% of African American children cannot swim; a population who consistently have their swimming funding cut to the point where the pool you have to train in has unsafe chlorine concentrations, she still became the first African American woman to win not only an individual medal, but let’s make it a gold one, in Olympic swimming.
If you ever think you’re not good enough, believe like an Aussie basketball Boomer. Facing the Dream Team from America, who have won 17 medals at their 17 Olympics games, 14 of them gold, they vowed not to be star struck or think their dreams were unattainable. As the American’s alighted their luxury cruiser and the Aussie concertinaed themselves out of their tiny cots in the Olympic village, they went on to be the first team to be winning at half time against the American’s in 12 years. No win in the end, but certainly an upset.
And if you ever think it’s all about the winning, who received the longest and loudest cheer whilst racing in our Olympic history? In a race where his competitors could have been dried, dressed and having tea by the time he finished, if he’d had any, we met Eric the Eel. In his post-race interview he said: “I am feeling good, I am feeling happy!”
Sure we are not Olympians, but we can all excel in grace, humility, persistence and hard work, just like these incredible athletes.