Setting the Bar, Olympic Style

I’m semi-exhausted. I’ve been staying up too late watching Olympic coverage of the world’s most amazing athletes. It goes without saying that Michael Phelps is other-worldly, but we knew that. He came back to prove that even at 31 he can put some swimming cash in the bank. Wow. 

Last night I had a late training session at the gym. It’s been a summer of increasingly difficult workouts to try to improve my fitness and strength. I dread it, but I love it because I know I’m getting stronger and more balanced. The last workout I did was to pull the sled, from about 25 feet out, all the way to me, with weight on it. Then push it back, jog back to my original spot and pull it to me again. And push back. Rinse and repeat. (Video not me, but it looks like this: Open Video in You-Tube) After almost an hour of leg work I was struggling. Jerry said to me “I don’t want to add another pull but I will if you don’t finish strong. That’s who we are. We finish it right.” In my own little way the bar was raised and I worked to meet the challenge (I never would have come up with that torture on my own). 

A few hours later I’m sitting in bed watching the Olympics and Allyson Felix raced the 400m. There were many personal interest stories explaining her previous disappointment and how she was fully expected to pull off the gold in this race. Well, she got silver. Miller, from the Bahamas dove across the finish line (holy Twitter explosion, it’s legal) and won the gold. Right out from under her. I’m thinking, wow, great race. She medaled. In fact, I found out she is the most decorated female track athlete of ALL TIME. That’s huge. 

What came next left me speechless. The NBC announcers, two past Olympians and a sports commentator proceeded to discuss how horrible a loss this was for Allyson Felix. The female commentator said when she lost like this she spent a few months in her room crying. That it was devastating. They discussed how she could possibly get over it. You would have thought that Allyson Felix sat down on the track and started eating Twinkies instead of crossing the finish line. They practically wrote her a prescription for Zoloft right there on the air. It was like they saw an entirely different race. I was embarrassed for them.

What Allyson Felix and her competitor accomplished was amazing. Dive or no dive. Allyson Felix walks away with a silver Olympic medal and the honor of being the most decorated female track athlete of all time. Yes, we all raise the bar high for ourselves and her bar happened to be a gold medal in the 400m. If you’re an Olympian, you always want gold. No one talked about Michael Phelps getting a silver in the 100m butterfly as if it was a failure. It’s another insane achievement in a long, distinguished line of medals for both of these athletes. They both finished it strong and with their absolute best efforts. As sore as I am today, I’m going to keep raising the bar. I’m inspired by the performance of Allyson Felix and I hope you are too.