Saturday 4 August 2012

Success is more than gold

Claire Balding commentating for the BBC here in the UK got into hot water yesterday when she referred to Rebecca Adlington's bronze in the pool as failure. She did apologise later and said it was just a heat of the moment comment because they knew what Rebecca had hoped for. We've seen other examples of bronze or silver medal winners, obviously having put every ounce of skill, energy and determination into their race, in tears apologising for not getting a gold.

I understand the athletes reactions. In order to do well they need to believe in themselves. In order to do well they're likely to have visualised themselves winning and they may have done this every day since the last Olympics - or for even longer. It may well be that very envisioning of achieving gold that enabled them to get the bronze - after all aiming for bronze they may not have even got them into the final. I can't even begin to imagine the pressure they've given themselves to succeed. Never mind the media and the nation starting to buy into that vision - no wonder there's disappointment when it's not achieved.

What disturbed me the most was our reaction - those of us watching. Many joined Claire in the belief that we'd failed - again. Unlike Claire we didn't have to apologise for how we felt so I wonder how many of us still went to bed feeling dissatisfied with the outcome. Before the swimming last night I'd noticed the EDF energy of the nation was 83% positive. Within minutes of Rebecca's swim it has tumbled by over 10%. Yes that's because we tweeted our sadness but what else does it say about how we define success of others? Surely at such times we should have been more positive to support her achievement not joined her in her misery?

One swimmer, who'd come 6th in the final, said yesterday she'd have eaten her arm to have got a bronze. For her success wasn't just gold - for her it would have been a medal. For others it would have been being in the final. For many others it will have been representing their country at the Olympics. For even more making it into the selection process. So for those of us watching from our sofas surely success for those athletes has to be much more than just gold?

Here's to all athletes who have a passion and desire for their sport and spend many many many hours, days. months and years perfecting their skills. You might not win the gold but from my perspective every day you get up early and train you're succeeding - winning gold just provides the motivation.

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for success in purchasing

Medal Picture Source: via Alison on Pinterest

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