I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – Paul of Tarsus
Being able to escape to Holland for a weekend, I was finally in a place with a television set. The Olympics was on before I walked through the door, and over the next few days, my jaw was constantly dropping from these amazing people. When the whole world comes together for something this special, chills down my spine are to be had.
When Rio 2016 is all over, the easy thing is to do is just turn off the T.V. and say, “Man, they’re so talented.” No, no. We can’t leave it at that; that’s too easy. The sheer amount of world records broken this year at Rio 2016 shows us that anything is possible. Here are some lessons I’ve observed from my time watching the games with my cousins.
1. Dedication of your life is a must.
Briefly skim the life of any Olympian and you’ll see it without fail. Swimmers are known to wake up at 5 a.m. to swim laps daily. It’s a part of their culture. A good question to ask is, “Do you think you’re special and can just get away with as little as you want to put in, and still get a gold medal?” To be honest, I feel and act that way most of the time. I don’t practice nearly as much as I should nor do I have ANY awards to show for. All I have is the words of people that love me, but when push comes to shove, you’ll need a hell lot more than that. It’s not because you suck. Even the best of the best train their bodies for battle.
Even during an interview and after YEARS of performances, Paco de Lucía wouldn’t stop practicing before a concert. “I don’t have any time to waste.”
2. Competition ≠ Enemy.
We can always learn from our fellow man. Every athlete brings something to the table. One just might have a better backstroke, but you have a better freestyle. There’s something else worth nothing; one of the things I truly admire is good sportsmanship.
The embrace these Olympians give each other when they have finished their race melts my heart. Regardless of prizes won, they were in this together, and for them that’s all that matters. If your competition messed up, and you had a chance to help them, would you? Runners Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D’agostino in Rio did. Hamblin slipped in their race and D’agostino who was injured in the process urged her up saying “Get up, get up! We have to finish this!” This occurred again during the race, but the other way around. You can read this heartwarming story here.
3. You win some, you lose some.
The world’s biggest sports event by far is the Olympics, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only competition that these Olympians go through. These guys are out there competing in events you’ve never heard of with others that are known in the community but maybe just didn’t qualify this particular year. Even when the going gets tough, these guys don’t trust their feelings. They suck it in and deal with it. Sometimes people just happened to train harder than you that particular year. And just because you lost your local competition doesn’t mean you can’t win the Olympics. I’ve seen this in the guitar world many an occasion. Don’t let events define you. Let your character and work ethic speak for you.
4. Nothing is impossible.
Ever heard of David and Goliath? A little shepherd boy with no armor took down a well-trained warrior who also happened be a pretty mean giant. Rio 2016 has seen record after record broken. Just because you were a little girl from some African village, doesn’t mean you don’t have a future, nor if you’re a kid from a rich family in the states. These things help, but aren’t everything. One of the amazing stories from this year is Joseph Schooling, an Olympic swimmer who won Singapore’s first medal. 8 years ago, he met Michael Phelps and took a photo with his idol. Sure enough, this year he beat him at one of the races. I wish I could post photos here, but considering I’m not exactly a news network, copyright is still a thing.
5. Shoot for the Stars.
We’ve all heard that quote: “Shoot for the stars so if you miss, you fall into the clouds.” Or any variation thereof. As cliché as it may be, there is definitely some truth to it.
Have you heard of Derek Redmond at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics? The poor guy was out racing when he suddenly tore his hamstring. Limping across the field, his Father came out onto the field and embraced his son, walking with him to the finish line. Point is, no matter what place you are, you’re already at the Olympics, something millions of people can only faintly dream about. Right where you are, use every opportunity you have to learn. Every breath to strive for adventure.