The past two weeks have had a lot to teach us. As both sports fans and lesser sports fans alike watched on at the 2012 Olympics, we all found ourselves bound together – unified in awe and celebration as athlete after athlete used four years of dreaming, hard work and passion to seize their moment center stadium.
Watching the Olympics is always an awe-inspiring time; however, this year’s 2012 games have been like no other. It was the first games to have female athletes competing for every country; it boasted the first gold-winning female boxer, as well as the fastest double amputee to compete in an able-bodied race. Not to mention the multiple records which were repeatedly smashed by the belief-defying athletes that took part.
What the 2012 Olympics offered us was a true insight into the beauty and strength of the human spirit – and that is something truly incredible. People have been inspired, uplifted and amazed. But most importantly of all, they have been brought together.
Here are the five most important lessons that we should all learn from the 2012 London Olympic Games:
A true phenomenon – Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps made history at the games, winning his 22nd Olympic medal and making him ‘Greatest Olympian Of All Time’. As they placed his 18th gold medal around his neck, the question on everybody’s lips was – just how did he do it?
The years of ruthless hard work, determination, and discipline that Phelps put in obviously had something to do with it. But the truth behind Phelps true greatness was his unwavering self-belief.
What made and still makes Phelps such a truly outstanding athlete, is his refusal to dwell on the negatives or any thoughts of failure. Instead, he used his belief in his ability and thoughts of glory and success to ensure that he stayed the greatest, right until the very end.
What astounded many of us as we watched the athletes compete was their ability to perform beyond the realms of what we had previously thought possible.
At 6’5, Usain Bolt is not built to be a sprinter let alone the world’s fastest man. The height of sprinters usually varies between 5’9 to 6’3 – maximum. However, somebody obviously forgot to tell Bolt that, as he continued to defy what we had previously imagined possible by winning the gold for both the 100m and 200m sprint.
Oscar Pistorius, the 400m runner now also known as ‘blade runner’, showed the world that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. The first double amputee to run alongside able-bodied athletes, as well as the fastest double-amputee to run on earth – Oscar broke down our preconceptions of what is and isn’t possible. These astonishing athletes showed us that accomplishing your dreams is a case of mind over matter; it is about wanting something so badly that you can break through the realms of reality and make it happen.
One of the most inspiring things about watching the Olympics, are the stories of adversity or struggle that some athletes have endured and overcome to make it to the 2012 games. What these stories can teach us is that when we have a dream, we shouldn’t allow the obstacles and challenges that life throws at us to distract or hold us back from our goals.
Russian Olympian Yelena Isinbayeva had originally been training to become an Olympic gymnast; however, she was told that this would not be possible because of her height. Instead of giving up on her Olympic dream, Yelena adapted – she became an Olympic pole vaulting champion instead.
We should use these stories to encourage us and have confidence in our ability to overcome and adapt to our life’s circumstances.
Follow by example – never give up at the first hurdle that life gives you. Instead, find a different, possibly even better route to your prosperity.
Nobody in the 2012 Olympic Games better demonstrated what the power of dreams can do, than 18-year-old diver Tom Daley. When a picture that Tom had drawn as a nine-year-old was released to the press, our hearts warmed. In the picture, 9-year-old Tom had drawn himself competing as a diver at the 2012 Olympics, with the title ‘Ambition’ written in bold at the top.
This provided for the world, proof of what conceiving a powerful dream and then believing in it can do. Tom had a dream, visualized himself living out that dream and kept this powerful image at the front of his mind at all times. Because of this, he not only got to live out his dream of competing at the 2012 Olympics, but he came home with a bronze medal!
We can all find inspiration and encouragement in Tom’s story. He taught us that when we have belief and passion in a dream of ours if we see it and hold it there in our mind’s eye, even the biggest of dreams can be made possible.
One of the most extraordinary things about the 2012 Olympics was that the entire world was brought together for 17 whole days, in a spirit of peace and goodwill.
The fighting, religious disputes, rivalry between nations – all of it was put to one side, as countries from around the globe joined together to celebrate the inspiring strength and achievements of our athletes.
As the Olympic closing ceremony celebrated all that had been achieved, nothing summed up the events of the past two weeks better than the song ‘Imagine’, which was played alongside a replica of John Lennon.
As Lennon’s voice filled the stadium and reached through the television sets of the hundreds of millions of people that watched from their homes, it was hard not to reflect on how for the previous two weeks, we had come so close to recreating the peaceful world that Lennon had once envisioned.
The spirit of peace that came with the Olympics may already be coming to an end, but we have seen that a peaceful world is possible. How we learn from this and choose to act is now up to us.