Derek Redmond was not a competitor at the London Olympics, but two women athletes reminded me of him, and that’s the basis of the lesson in this article…
Merve Aydin is the first woman, and you may wonder why she’s crying in this picture of her at London 2012.
Well, the Turkish runner is at the end of an 800 metres heat, but she had pulled a muscle around 400 metres earlier. In any other race she would have stopped, but this wasn’t any other race, it was the Olympic Games.
So, with no chance of qualifying, she carried on around the last lap making sure that she finished. She was only just going quicker than a walk, but she was running nevertheless.
It didn’t get as much coverage as Derek Redmond, who had a similar incident back in the 1992 Games. Back then, Redmond finished his lap in tears, refusing offers of help until his father appeared at his side having somehow battled around the security.
That was a moving moment, and although Aydin didn’t get the help of a parent, or the coverage of Redmond, I found it just as moving to see someone carry on in tears even though their dream had gone.
One of the original ideals of the Modern Olympics is that it’s not the winning that counts, but the taking part.
Way too often it unfortunately seems that winning *is* what counts. That’s what made Redmond’s incident so moving and it’s why I’m writing about Aydin. It’s how you act when things go wrong that often shows your character far more than when things go right.
We can look at another British athlete for a similar example – Goldie Sayers…
All going well then, but during her last throw she felt something in her throwing arm, and it didn’t take long to find out she had injured her elbow.
With any other tournament, she wouldn’t have taken part at London 2012 with that kind of injury, but the same thing applied to Sayers as it did to Aydin – not any other tournament but the Olympics.
So, even though she felt something go again during her warm up, she came out and tried. She fell way short of qualifying, but she showed what it meant to her.
Not quite the same as Aydin, because Sayers knew in advance there was an issue, but in her interview the tears still flowed. She said that sometimes these things just happen, and you just had to accept them.
She said she found it hard to accept this particular injury 3 weeks before the biggest day of her life when she had never had it before in 12 years, but she had no choice *but* to accept it.
You can’t get a better illustration that sometimes things outside your control can ruin years of effort, but you cannot do anything about them, and you have to go for your goal despite that risk.
Your goal may not have such fine margins as those you see in sport, but if you can accept that influence of outside circumstance like Sayers did, and can carry yourself through goal failure like Redmond did in ‘92 and like Aydin in 2012, you’ll have some great personal characteristics in place.
Let me know what you think – keep the feedback coming!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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