Go The Distance!

It was a main event last summer! Collectively, the world paused to admire Olympic news coverage from Beijing, China and marvel at those who took strides toward excellence.

Ever since I can remember, Olympic athletes seemingly walked on water. Each was larger than life and had a unique blend of tenacity, agility, and discipline to overcome any obstacle to clutch a coveted gold, silver, or bronze medal. Not bad to be ranked among the top tier of world champions, right?

Interestingly enough, it’s about more than winning. Olympian and renowned sailor Stuart Walker notes in “Winning: The Psychology of Competition,” that “winning is not the main concern of most competitors. Few actually win. Few would compete if winning were their primary motivation. What winners focus on is not victory itself but the daily details that they hope will lead to victory.”

At a moment’s notice, Olympic champions implement planned or alternative strategies based on shifting dynamics. Athletes have a focused, laser-like determination and unwavering commitment to overcome adversity. They adjust willingly and quickly to every environmental change, such as weather conditions, unexpected competition, and unanticipated challenges.

Without a doubt, we recall memorable Olympic triumph in tennis, gymnastics, and soccer where discipline has paid off. And certainly anyone who witnessed the 1980 U.S. hockey team claim victory became a true believer in “miracles on ice.” What comes to mind is the 1996 summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Gold medalist and world champion boxer Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony despite perpetual shaking from Parkinson’s syndrome. As he lifted the ceremonial torch, a spark seemingly ignited an emotional roar that rippled throughout the stadium and likely around the world. The man known as “The Greatest” was not confined by his debilitating ailment nor was his sports hero status diminished by time and age.

Amidst my daydreaming about the Olympic Games, I am reminded about tenacity in an ever-changing political and economic landscape. Rules have changed, financials fluctuate, and the terrain looks unfamiliar. Regardless, sound determination is what will motivate lockstep resilience and sustained vision.

Despite distractions, it’s ultimately about the hard work, motivation, and perseverance. Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda once said “the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” Let the Olympic Games serve as an example for us all to not just sit on the sidelines but to resolve within ourselves to go the distance!

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