If there were one particular event from this year’s Olympic Games in London that I was looking forward to watching, it was the men’s triathlon. Reason being, I get a real kick out of watching Canada’s Simon Whitfield do what he does best—race. There’s nothing that I admire and appreciate more in sport than athletes who are willing to go beyond our perceived limits of physical and emotional pain, and strive to find more within them. After his gutsy performance in Beijing, I was especially curious and excited to see what an athlete at the top of his game could do on the day.
This morning, watching Simon fall while transitioning onto his bike, I have to be honest, I had some mixed emotions. At first, it was disbelief—maybe that wasn’t him? Then, desperation—okay, get back on that bike, Simon, and get going. You can still do this! And, finally, when I heard that he had withdrawn from the race due to an injury—I was mad. I stood up and walked away from the television furious at what had just transpired. Not only would Simon not get to race, but also selfishly, I wouldn’t get to watch him.
In that movement, I had a brief déjà vu. I travelled back twelve years to the day when my wife, a Canadian1500 metre runner, had to withdraw from her third and final Olympic Games bid due to an injury. She, like Simon, was at the height of her physical readiness having run a PB weeks earlier and now at the end of a 16 year career on the Canadian National Team was withdrawing from her chance—her moment to shine on the Olympic stage and realize her ultimate potential as a runner.
I was enraged that day at the unfairness of how Robyn’s final Olympic bid had played out. This is not how things are supposed to end for good people, I thought. I remembered ranting that if anyone deserved to be at the Games that year, it was Robyn. She was clean. She epitomized the Olympic Spirit. She was an inspiration to so many young athletes. And, after all, she had worked so hard—sacrificed so much for her final chance to race. The similarities with today’s events are obvious.
Eventually, and I mean years eventually, I came to admire and appreciate how Robyn handled that day. She wasn’t enraged. She wasn’t devastated. She quite simply saw those events—fair or unfair—as a part of her life’s journey and like everything in life—good or bad—she could learn from them and become a better person. Reflecting back, even today, I am still in awe with the maturity, wisdom and grace with which Robyn handled her Olympic exit. Having just read Simon’s recent Twitter post, Not how I envisioned this chapter ending. It’s been a remarkable Olympic journey, more than I could have ever imagined. #ProudCanadian, I see the similarities continue.
As for the results, in my mind, I know how Simon’s race could or should have played out. For now, that will have to sustain me until the next Olympics.
Thank you, sport, for providing such great teachers for us all!
Jason Dorland is a High-Perfomance Coach who believes the most undervalued and underutilized components of reaching our goals are the mental and emotional areas of our lives. With your commitment, Jason can help you make a positive difference in how you approach your life’s dreams and goals. Guaranteed! To find out how, contact Jason today for a free no obligation consultation. He looks forward to meeting with you and getting started soon!