Our athletes are the history makers and they have reached the top of their game through dedication, commitment and an ability to exploit their genetic gifts. The key to their success and their high regard has many parts.
They’ve all been on a journey which universally follows the same pattern; having a target with the outcome being success at the highest level, executing a well thought through game plan and “signing up” in a true and fully committed way.
Take comfort that you too are like a champion. Everyone who has ever any kind of success, however small, would have followed this journey. We would have followed it when we learned to walk, when we took exams and when we competed in any sports. We all have a game plan of sorts. Our targets might not be as high as those athletes, but we’ll know where we’re going to achieve success, whatever that may be and whilst their journey will be longer than ours, travelling to greater heights and doing it with mental toughness and dogged determination, we too will be on our own journey.
But the athletes we admire will displayed values we hold in the highest regard and an attitude that we aspire to. They will have taken ownership, embraced setbacks, taken feedback, proved that persistence is incompatible with failure, believed and, somewhere along the way, made a key decision ‘to cross the Rubicon’. And whilst we all display some the right attitude and wonderful values of our own, it’s our athletes that display them at the very highest levels, on the biggest stages on the planet and in the most pressured crucible of competition.
And we truly want to believe them, that they live their lives in the spirit of the Olympics. Supporting the good guys gives an opportunity to revel in the good, to get away from the cheats and the emotional vampires, to dash all of those with closed thinking and forget the conspiracies that are aimed to bring down those who soar high and free.
One sports fan who knew about values, having passed numerous laws on civil rights as Governor of California and Chief Justice of the United States of America, was the late Earl Warren. He encapsulated our admiration for athletes.
“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments,” Warren said. “The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
By Tony Lewis
Tony Lewis is a former elite swimmer who was coached at a senior level by Bill Furness, the current Head Coach of British Swimming and has held the all-comers County swimming record for the 1,500 frontcrawl since 1991. He is a consultant in organizational change and has worked with numerous executive management teams to help them transform their businesses. Lewis is the author of the What Type of Athlete are you? series and Swimming Technique Illustrated. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @lewisparnellst