It takes two hands to clap. As we strive to achieve the vision of ten or more gold medals by the year 2024, the major hurdle that we have to overcome is attitudinal. Those who say it can’t be achieved, you are very right. You will never achieve it. It’s as simple as that. If your attitude is we can’t or I can’t, then that’s your reality.
It begins with believing that you can and will be the best prepared that you have ever been. You want to be in the best shape of your life. Chris Hoy said the goal of being in the best shape of your life takes away all the other distractions and brings it back to yourself.
“If you get beat it is because they deserve it and not because I didn’t train hard enough or prepare properly.” He further said it is about leaving no stones unturned.
Olympic champions will tell you that nowhere is the pressure more intense than at the Olympic Games. Ian Thorpe puts it this way: “No matter what you have experienced, until you get to the Olympic Games, you haven’t experienced anything.”
Making excuses before the competition or feigning indifference are strategies some adopt to manage expectations or deal with the pressure.
The Olympics is a high stakes games said Michael Johnson. “ You can’t have it both ways. You can’t attempt to hedge your bets. You are either all in or you’re out. You can’t stop believing in yourself.”
The key, according to Johnson, is not to try to ignore the expectations or pretend they are not there, but to acknowledge they exist and develop a plan to deal with them while focusing on your own goals.
You have to prove yourself in the Olympic cauldron. Those who bring potential alone will be found out. Olympic success isn’t an entitlement. At the Olympics, it’s about wanting to be the best in the world by taking on the best in the world... and winning.
There is this delicate balance that has to be struck between taking care of our athletes and keeping the competitive fire and hunger burning.
Attitude defines the successful champion. They thrive on competition. Any chance they get to battle they take it and when the inevitable defeat comes, they don’t look for people to blame instead they focus on what else they need to do in order to win.
The Olympic Games is the pinnacle. In recent weeks the pressure has heightened. The IOC and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee are both facing intense scrutiny.
They have to deal with it just as the athletes have to deal with the intense pressure that is part and parcel of the Olympic Games.
This is the time when the athletes, coaches and Olympic Committees who are able to zone out the distractions and stay focused on the task at hand will be best able to perform and overcome.
Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.