“Four Life Lessons from the 2016 Olympics”

On August 5, the greatest track & field athletes assembled in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the beginning of the 2016 Olympic Games. And while all eyes were on Usain Bolt in his quest to become the first man to ever win gold in the 100m and 200m races in three consecutive Olympics, I saw four other stories that caught my attention.

As these four stories played out across the Olympics, they showed the determination and hard work of world-class athletes. But if you look a little closer, these narratives also serve as mini-inspirational stories for us in how we approach life. If you’re looking to be inspired, I took four motivational quotes and paired them with these four amazing moments from the 2016 Olympics.

#1 | “Falling down is a part of life, but getting back up is living.” featuring Mohamed Farah

Did you see the video of Mo Farah’s race for gold in the 10,000m? If you haven’t, you need to check out the video here. In this gold medal race, Mo was running in the pack and got tripped on accident by other runners. He fell down to the track, and got passed over by many runners. He then proceeded to get himself back up, and in the final 200 meters, he passed by the same people who passed him over when he fell earlier in the race. He took home the gold medal.

How does this apply to life?

We all fall down. We all fail at something. But the key to failure is getting back up again. When you are embarking on your goals in life, rest assured that you will fail at some things, and at some point, people will watch you fall, run right by you and not offer any assistance. Failure builds character, and your response to failure is what defines you. Falling down is not the end, all you have to do is find the willpower to get back in the race and win. Once you get back in the race, use those people who watched you fall and passed you by as motivation to prove them wrong. Allow that motivation to help set your pace, and when the time is right go for the gold and show them what you are made of.

#2 | “Do your own thing, on your own terms, and get what you came here for.” featuring Wayde van Niekerk

This race, was arguably one of the greatest races I have ever seen. As a former track athlete and 400m runner, I have been in Wayde’s shoes before, but I was never that successful. If you didn’t see his race, check out this video from the NBC Olympics. Wayde drew lane 8 in the 400m final, a death sentence for any runner. He was forced to run the race blind, unable to see any of the other seven runners in the race. But Wayde ran his race, never getting caught and setting the world record – a world record that many thought would never be broken.

How does this apply to life?

Sometimes you just have to go at it alone. No one else. Just you. And when you want something bad enough, you don’t need anyone to co-sign – just go do it. Now remember, when you try to go at things alone, people will be watching in hopes that you will fall. They may be watching you and following you in hopes that maybe they can catch up to you. But as long as you stay focused on the goal, you won’t have to worry, because you will be so far ahead of them, they won’t be able to catch up.

#3 | “Don’t look back. Something may be gaining on you.” featuring Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin is one of the greatest American sprinters of all-time. He just came off a silver medal performance in the 100m dash, and he was aiming to medal in the 200m dash. In the qualifying sprint races or prelims, runners tend to get off to fast starts, and then conserve their energy as they approach the finish lines, often looking around to make sure they are in the top 2 to advance. Justin was in complete control of his 200m qualifying race, and then started to look around, only to get passed up at the finish line. To everyone’s dismay, his time wasn’t fast enough, and he ended up not qualifying for the final round of the 200m dash, going home disappointed.

How does this apply to life?

We as individuals are in control of our destiny. We determine how far we go in life. But what ends up happening, is that instead of focusing on our goals, we end up looking around to see if anyone else is watching us or gaining on us, only to get beat in the end. You see, whatever dreams and goals you have in life, they are sometimes shared by others, and a lot of times the winner goes to who hits the market first. You are not the only person with an entrepreneurial dream. You are not the only person who wants that job. Whatever you are aiming for, keep focused and stop worrying about others.

#4 | “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” featuring Abbey D’Agostino and Nikki Hamblin

Abbey and Nikki showed what true sportsmanship is all about during their 5000m qualifying race in the Olympics. Niki tripped and fell down, but rather than pass her up and keep running towards her own goals Abbey stopped and picked her up and ran alongside her to finish the race together. But coming down the homestretch, as fate would have it, Abbey’s right knee buckled and she fell, and it was Nikki’s turn to pick her up and help her finish the race. Abbey told Nikki to just go on without her. Both ladies finished the race, and because of the tripping that occurred and after issuing a protest, the Olympic Committee advanced both ladies to the finals. Abbey was unable to run the final, but Nikki did and when she finished the race, Abbey and the entire stadium cheered for her all the way to the finish line.

How does this apply to life?

Sometimes, we cannot accomplish our goals in life running by ourselves. Oftentimes, we need a support group – someone there to catch us when we fall and encourage us to get back up and run the race, even though we may be bruised. Sometimes we have people who are supposed to be our support, and while they do help us up, they will then take off running again, running their own race, and leaving us behind. The key to a strong support group is not only do they help you up, but they will set a pace for you to get back in the race, run beside you, push you to your limits and help you finish the race. And just how you got help, it is now your obligation to reach back and help the next one.

Photo courtesy: http://www.express.co.uk. 

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