Lessons of the Olympics

Crissy's words come to life in the experience of a lifetime: The Olympic Games.

Posted Mar 16, 2010

The Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC have come to an end, but I continue to carry the spirit of the games with me. My trip to Vancouver was filled with great experiences and many memories. In my work with The Foundation for Global Sports Development and our Mentorship Program, I was able to share some special moments with 50 youth from East Palo Alto, CA as they discovered the joy and excitement of the Olympic Games.

CrissyA highlight of the trip was a visit from 1992 Gold Medalist, Crissy Perham. Crissy spoke to the youth about her experiences training for the Olympics, the competition itself, and what life was like after such a momentous occasion. The youth really enjoyed meeting Crissy, as Adrian, one of the teens, points out, "It was really cool that even though she won medals at the Olympics, she took the time to come and talk to us and teach us about working hard toward our dreams." In the course of her presentation, Crissy focused on three very important keys to success:

1) Find an activity and goal that you love and are passionate about.
2) Work hard. Work hard. Work hard.
3) Find a mentor/coach.

These lessons are invaluable in sports. We see many cases where individuals train and spend a lot of time preparing for a goal that might actually be fulfilling parental or societal expectations, for instance a child participating in a sport solely for their father or mother's acceptance, or a young pianist eager to please their parents. While these individuals might do well, having their own passion for their goals can allow them to take training to another, more driven level. Along the same lines, we can only expect to see results that are aligned with the dedication we put into training. It is important to maintain realistic expectations in this regard. Lastly, but certainly not least, the value of a mentor/coach is immeasurable. A mentor provides a mixture of skill knowledge, encouragement and feedback, and strategy and training methods.

After this presentation by Crissy, she and the youth attended several Olympic events, witnessing the culmination of the Olympians' years of training. The youth were able to see Crissy's words come to life in the experience of a lifetime: The Olympic Games. What are other key aspects of athletic training or goal reaching that you'd like to share?