Olympic Goal Achievement Tips To Stumble Over!

August 6th 2012, London, and the athletes line up for a heat of the Olympic 400 metre hurdles. What happened next gives 2 great goal achievement tips…
The Great Gordino Goal Achievement
Vania Stambolova.

The Bulgarian set off from the blocks, and then crashed over the first hurdle. Lots of internet comedy about Stambolova stumbling over the hurdle…geddit?

I won’t deny it, I giggled myself, but I was immediately struck by the lesson on her tale. So, did she turn up to the race as a no hoper, just there to make up the numbers?


She turned up having put in the same years and years of hard work, hour after hour, day after day. It didn’t guarantee her success. Of course there are lots of people who won’t win when they take part in the Olympics, there is only one gold medal in each event after all.

What pretty much can be guaranteed is that you will fail at the Olympics if you *don’t* put in the work. That’s the lesson, that you have to be prepared to put in the work without the guarantee of success.

It’s something that stops so many people from even setting out on their goals, because the question ‘what if I fail?’ shouts at them louder than ‘what if I succeed?’ For all the athletes, it’s the question about success that wins that particular battle.

Of course in sport there are things you can do to help you on your way – learning better technique, getting better coaching, working harder for example. Oh, and something else which brings me to the second lesson…


The bane of sport, and particularly track and field. I was all prepared to write about Stambolova being a world class athlete with medals at European Championships and World Indoor Championships in 2006.

The problem came when I did some research, and discovered she tested positive for testosterone in 2007. That means those 2006 performances were because she had cheated.

While I can see how sports people fall for the temptation of drugs, I always wonder at their logic, because they pretty well all get caught nowadays.

There’s also the question of integrity. I’ve written about it for years, because it’s a massive ingredient for self improvement and personal development. You must act with integrity, towards others and yourself.

Stambolova got a 2 year ban, leaving her free to compete at London 2012. Lots of debate in sport about whether these bans are long enough, with some people saying that once someone serves the ban, the slate is clean and they can take their place.

Hmm, I’m really not too sure about that, but let’s take a look at the lessons –

1. You have to dive in towards your goal, accepting that your effort will not always mean your goal is a certainty.

2. If an opportunity comes to further yourself by acting without integrity, and you’re tempted, then think long and hard. Then think long and hard again.

That’s what I took from Stambolova’s stumble, and considering her drug history I don’t feel so bad about it giving me a giggle.

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‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. You can read about integrity and commitment in my book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’
P.P.S. Or you may facny my guide about how to ‘Make Money From Sport!’

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  • Thanks for drawing these lessons, Gordon. Other writers could find other lessons, I’m sure, but these two are especially worth considering, now that the games are still in progress.
    As I understand it, the spirit of these games honors athletes who excel in honest competition. Fueled by national pride, the media seem to convert this to a contest over medals.
    Focusing so much on who wins and who loses, we can easily forget that all these athletes (except for a few, I suppose) dedicate years of intense training just for this opportunity to test their personal best performance. Win or lose.
    Only one contestant can win each race. However, with so many athletes competing, we ought to recognize that the greatest honor of all should go to everyone on the field, and not to those few on the winner’s podium.
    Do you suppose all the contrived adulation over winning a medal encourages some athletes to violate the rules about doping?

    • You’re right Robbie, the media has a lot to answer for with the medal table. It really does tend to go against the importance of taking part, which was a huge oufndation behind the Modern Olmypics. I imagine the temptation to use drugs is massive for some, and obviously too much to resist for many! Cheers, Gordon