Monday, August 11, 2008

Issue 480 - Striking Gold

I hope everything is ok where you are.

Well the Beijing Olympics are well underway, so if ever there was a time when I'd be talking about sport, it would be now!

I love the tradition and history of sport - I remember bits of the 1976 Olympics, and from then on have watched them all avidly except 1996 when my entertainment work prevented me from watching.

The British team has fired off 2 early gold medals, and both of them break long waits.
On Sunday Nicole Cooke won the womens cycling road race, the first gold medal by a Welsh athlete in a British vest since 1972, and this morning Rebecca Adlington won the 400 metres freestyle, the first Gold in swimming by a British woman for 48 years.

Of course one reason why these long runs develop is that the Olympics are only held once every 4 years, and for each event there will only be one winner every 4 years.
Ok, that may sound obvious, but when you hear about the years of training that the winners do, day after day, aiming for that one moment, let's not forget that all the other athletes do too!
For the winner it ends in gold, but for the others it doesn't, but they have trained just as hard.

I remember watching Cooke in the Athens Games.
She was a live medal prospect, but her problem was that road racing is a team game, even though it's contested individually. What that means is that if you don't have support riders to take the workload for you, the other teams will use tactical riding to overwork you.

In Athens this is exactly what happened to Cooke. The other teams were able to have their main riders take it easy, while their support riders attacked Cooke all the time.
She finished 5th.

This time the GB team had better support riders, who were able to let Cooke take it easy and save herself for her sprint finish.
I've seen her in interviews over many years, and she is usually calm and articulate.
For the whole day after her win she was glazed over, and talking like she was drunk! It must have been one almighty cocktail of hormones raging round her!
You could tell it was a 'brain does not compute' moment for her!

Winning a gold is a moment that will etch your name in time. It may be that only fans of the particular sport remember the names vividly, but the record book is permanent.

Yes, all the losing athletes trained hard and lost, but you will never win Olympic Gold *without* doing the hard work and knowing you may lose.

They get one chance.
Some people go to a few Olympics some people only go to one, and this brings around the point I want to make today.

Whereas the Olympic athletes have that one moment when it all matters, for us everyday plebs, things are not that high octane.
In our lives, we get the chance to try things over and over, if we make a mistake we can just do it again.
Yes of course sometimes we have to make quick decisions which may have huge impact, but generally speaking we can look well into the future, set our goal and start working towards it.
The flexibility that we have, is a luxury that many Olympians would love to have, so since we have it, shouldn't we make sure we are using it?

I know some readers don't like sport as much as I do, but if you get the chance while the Olympics are on, take a moment - pick one gold medal winner, or pick an athlete that finishes 4th.
Consider all the work that went in over many years for that one moment, ending in gold or 4th.

Then consider the flexibility that you have in your own goals - it makes them seem a whole lot easier knowing that you don't only have a once in 4 years moment to get it right!

Ok, that's it for this week, I'm off to consider the flexibility of my chocolate eating schedule...

'Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you know anyone else who you think would enjoy the Great Gordino Newsletter, please pass it on to them!

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