Lessons From the 2010 Olympics

I can’t speak for any other Canadians, but when the men’s hockey team won gold, I didn’t feel happy, I felt relieved, just glad it was over and they’d won the gold. The pressure (I think) on these guys and girls in hockey was enormous. Canadians really feel like hockey is “our” game and a silver would have been shameful. Which, if you think about it, is insane. What’s wrong with being the second best team/athlete in the world?

I think it depends on the sport, but with hockey, you didn’t win the silver. You lost the gold and got the silver. Team played to see who’d win the bronze, but silver? That was just the consolation prize for not being the best.

It was a good lesson, though, about rethinking my perspective on a few things in my life.

Other lessons learned from the Olympics:

1) The Dutch guy who beat the speed skating record by 3 seconds but was disqualified for being in the wrong lane, said that he felt his coach was wrong (when the guy was telling him what lane to go into), but he figured, ‘heck, he’s my coach. I better listen to him.’ He didn’t follow his instincts and it cost him both the gold and the world record.

LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Sometimes, following your gut will mean going against the instructions or guidance of those you trust most.

2) A Chinese bobsledder was disqualified after her equipment was found to be 0.02 kg over the limit. Her coach had done the calculations incorrectly and she lost her chance to compete in her first Olympics.

LESSON TO BE LEARNED: It’s great to rely on other people, but it’s even better to take the initiative and know your stuff, so you can support those supporting you.

3) A cross country skier fell into a gully and broke 3 ribs, and punctured her lung. She went on to compete and win the bronze. A skater’s mom died the day before she was to compete. She still skated and won the bronze.

LESSON TO BE LEARNED: Life happens and because life happens, crappy things happen. If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to try despite adversity, and if you want to be a champion, then you have to understand that sometimes being a winner means showing up to your commitments, no matter how horrible you feel.

4) In men’s hockey, the Canadians lost a 3-0 lead in the last ten minutes of the gold qualifying game and almost lost the game.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t start celebrating before your goals are achieved. It’s all well and good to be ahead of your time frames and competitors, but don’t pull back before the final bell sounds.

5) In the men’s gold game of hockey, the Americans tied the game with 24.4 seconds to go in the third period.

LESSON LEARNED: It’s okay if you’re behind. Keep trying, keep to your objectives and sooner or later, you’ll catch up.

6) In the men’s gold game of hockey, during the third period the Canadians switched from offensive to defensive playing. Their caution allowed the Americans to tie the game and force it into overtime.

LESSON LEARNED: Always take risks, and always go after your targets like you want to win, not like you’re trying to maintain status quo.

And so to the Quote of the Week:

There’s no substitute for guts.
~Paul Bear Bryant

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