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Olympics Lessons

Posted Aug 09 2012 6:15pm

Since the London 2012 Olympics kicked off I remain in a sleep deprived mode.  However, I continue to remain in a state of awe when watching the Olympic athletes.  Their years and years of single minded dedication to that one goal is amazing and impressive. 

Watching the swimmers on the deck with their perfectly sculpted bodies and then, when the gun goes off, staying glued to the television screen as they fly through the water, with finishes often separated by a small fraction of a second makes me feel lucky to have the ability to at least vicariously participate. Michael Phelps – what a combination of genetics, skill and punishingly hard work.

Kimberly Rhode, the first American with individual medals in five straight Olympics in skeet shooting, after a golden, record-setting, nearly perfect performance amazes me.  Five straight Olympics!  And she says that she hopes to be back for many more!

How can one not feel affection and joy for Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings as they win gold, yet again, in women's beach volleyball? 

In watching beach volleyball, I must admit that I am curious on the amount of time it takes each competitor to toughen up his/her feet for that sport.  Hours of practicing in loose sand must generate some very necessary, specific remedial and preventive foot care. 
However, the one event that I learned the biggest lesson from was the women’s 100 meter hurdles.  As these ladies raced through that short distance while leaping hurdles I was struck by the position of their heads.  There was absolutely no up and down movement as they cleared each hurdle.  Every watt of energy was expended in moving forward, always moving forward.  Applying energy to go up and down is wasted, and only serves, in the end, to slow them down.

So for me the lesson of the women hurdlers is to keep moving forward.  Whether I am swimming, biking or running, energy used to propel me forward is good.  Energy expended to generate side-to-side or up and down movement is wasted.
This, to me at least, is especially worthwhile to remember in the swim.  When I extend each arm for each stroke, and begin the catch, if I am pushing down, then I am doing nothing to move my body forward.  My catch must be designed to grab the water and pull to move my body forward.
Always forward.  
Perhaps that will be my new mantra.
Thank you for visiting.
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