Since 1996 I have been fortunate to be asked to share the Olympic journey I have experienced. Here’s a highlights video I have used since 2008 which captures some of the moments along that journey and the people involved.
Worth noting that often some many more people contribute our journey’s as athlete’s but they easily go unmentioned or unseen. The obvious people here are Oarsome Foursome 1996 team mates Mike McKay, Nick Green and James Tomkins. James and I again were together in 2004, and then Duncan Free in 2008. The coaches involved in these great moments, Noel Donaldson and Chris O’Brien. Add to this our families which have grown as we have had kids. Parents, partners, and friends who all shape, support, challenge and support us.
This quick highlights video is the tip of the iceberg and often when I get to present and facilitate I work to help audiences and participants understand the behind the scenes experiences which involve many more ups and downs. The reality is what we do as athletes, what is seen, is often the surface. Mostly our experiences are like any persons working hard to make a living, to create something, to deliver something, to perform and to learn. This video points to that reality and the chance then is to connect and share with people through the reality which is far more normal and relatable to those involved.
This is not to down play success and high performance. Its not to devalue or pull down the outstanding and extraordinary, but to elevate what we all do in normal work and life. Sport is a visual expression which makes it a great story. Stories then are great as long as the perceived gap between one’s own perspective and the stories perspective being presented, doesn’t create a disconnect or easy excuse for why someone can’t do something.
I love inspiring people and triggering aspiration. Its important that these golden moments act to enable, and like the stories which accompany them, they should challenge one to take actions, to find solutions, to make changes, to step up, to believe in the possibilities, to work differently and work together better.
What you do next and how you choose to use this, like the Olympic event which is fast approaching is important. The World stage will be set and the games are the spectacle and should enable change in the World for better. Thats the big picture the real deal is what anyone does to use the moments to make them happier, reflective, active, motivated, and more likely to take a step towards their our goals.
I am a passionate person and much of this passion comes from a few sources. I love being inspired and its through seeing the Olympics as a kids that I started to wonder about the possibilities. My family supported my passions, and the many people along the journey have been part of shaping those possibilities into focused actions. Nothing ever perfect and so don’t think for a second any athlete like myself has just had something special other don’t have. We are all the same. We are all capable. The difference I see is not all believe in what they can do. Guess what most successful athletes, myself included even with Gold as a mark of our efforts struggle to create, build and maintain that belief.
The games like any significant challenge becomes a talking point. Simply suggestion you dream of being an Olympian has people seeing you differently. Multiple that by 100 after you have become an Olympian and it makes you think and feel almost anything is possible. Gold, the Olympics, and being an Olympian has energy to it. What I am suggesting here is we all struggle with belief in what we are capable of but I can tell you after the journey I have experienced I am only realising just how capable we all really are. The Olympics shows all of use just a fraction of some of the possibilities and this is not limited to a rare few, its in us all. My gut feel is we just need to get out of our comfort zone more to excite those around us and we need to put ourselves in situations where the gap between what we know we can do and what we wish we could do is big enough an scary enough that it true is a talking point and a stimulating force inside.
I share these highlights then as an entree to the Rio games and as a taster to possible getting any reader to deeply reflect on whats next for you. What’s going to make your day? What will make the day for those around you? What will be your next significant challenge and who will be involved? How will you help others? How will you that that next step? What you do next does matter and like every athlete everything counts and collectively adds up. Gold is not what you just do in one second, or minute, or hour, or day, or week, month or year. Its a life time of building momentum, finding ways, of breaking things down, or realisations and awakenings. Belief is built over the long term and sustained effort. Learning is the reward and outputs like Gold Medals are symbols of outcomes and experiences which hold the real gifts.
Take the challenge