I know the Olympics are over. I watched more of them this year than I have in several years. Ice skating, skeleton, bobsledding, slalom, half pipe and snowboard cross, funky short little trick skies in the half pipe, etc. The last time I really watched, moguls were the new thing. That was several years and a few children ago. This year I noticed a few things as I watched. One is that American commentators say some arrogant, insensitive things. I won’t bother to list them here. I was flabbergasted.
The other observation I wanted to mention to you was about a couple of competitors. They were both male, of similar age and both competing in their third Olympics, both favorites in some event.
Competitor one had been the subject of a Target documentary which I watched before the Olympics. I watched because I was curious to see how he trained, what he did that enabled him to be so good at his event. It showed him with his coach- the first he has ever had, though this was his third Olympics. (Being men, they mostly stood around and grunted at each other.) But basically, it seemed to boil down to this: he was naturally good at what he does. He went out there and did his thing and relied very much on his natural ability to do whatever needed to be done. When his natural ability ran short, he spent a lot of time soaking his aching joints. I was a little shocked that this was his routine. There seemed to be no preparation of the body, no physical conditioning involved in his training. He was the favorite in his event, but he went home from Sochi without a single medal.
The second competitor was in several events, some he was expected to win and some he was not. When they told his story at the games, it was with video of him in the gym, lifting weights, training hard, though weight lifting was not his event. He wasn’t just out on his skies, trying new things, instead he was training his body, conditioning himself for more than going down the hill, though I am sure he went down the hill many, many times. He went home with more than one medal, and gold for the event he was expected to win.
Now, I understand that sometimes even the athletes who train the hardest lose. Someone has to lose in every event. Once in a while there are extenuating circumstances. Accidents happen. So is there a moral to this story? Perhaps only because in my own life I know that sometimes I am very guilty of depending on my own natural “talents”. Natural ability can take you a long way. It took Competitor One a very long way. He has gold medals to prove it, but to me it looks like when he came to the end of his natural ability he was unwilling to fess up. He didn’t extend his ability by putting in the extra work.
Which of these men is the Olympian? Which is the true competitor? Have your natural abilities gotten you far enough in life or is there more you want to do?