Learning from those at the peak of their potential
I love my sport. Rugby is probably top of the list, closely followed by cricket, football (soccer for my American readers), and cycling. Oh and tennis. And, thinking about it, I enjoy watching the golf majors too. Anyway, you get the idea. Like I say: I love my sport. If I wasn’t married and a father, I’d probably see little reason to leave the house!
I say all that though to say this: I love the Olympics. It is a truly global event, made all the more special by the fact it only occurs every four years. The last Olympics, with it happening in my home country, was particularly special, but I’m already excited for what will unfold over the next two weeks in Rio.
It’s the stories behind the stories I love the most. Hearing the challenges people have overcome rising to the top is always inspiring. Discovering all that the athletes put themselves through to reach the top of their sport is fascinating.
As someone who has long been consumed by the idea of maximising potential, the Olympics is a showcase of this like no other. I know in sporting circles we are drawn to the idea of innate talent, but this is never the true story behind greatness.
Greatness stems from hard work and character. And that’s what I love hearing and reading about during the Olympics: the sacrifices competitors have made to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport; the obstacles they’ve had to overcome along the way. These are the things that intrigue me and inspire me the most. (As well as seeing the Brits win lots of medals, of course.)
Though the chances of me achieving Olympic glory have long gone (and, in truth, were never there), there are so many lessons we can learn from those who will be competing over the next fortnight. I intend to gleam every insight I can. I may never be an Olympian, but I do want to maximise my potential. So there is much for me to learn in the coming days.
On a related subject, here’s an interview I did with the Olympic open water swimmer Keri-anne Payne a few years ago: