Solid Gold Inspiration

February 21, 2010

In the past few weeks, I will admit that I felt pretty indifferent about watching the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  I can still remember a young, sports nerd version of me watch the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team capture the gold medal, snatching glory from the heavily-favored Soviet Union team.  As young as I was, I could sense how impossible that accomplishment was.  As much as it was a life-changing moment for the young men on the ice that day, it still had a profound impact on my life as I watched in my living room.

Thirty years later, I’m much less impressionable and much more cynical than I was when I witnessed “the impossible” in Lake Placid, New York.  But watching the Winter Olympics last week, I witnessed two amazing feats of sportsmanship, talent and pure desire that inspired me and caused me to really take notice.

The first feat was Lindsey Vonn capturing the gold medal for downhill skiing.  She came into the Olympics as one big question mark with an injured and sore shin.  Somehow, she pulled it together for an amazing downhill run that had her, at times, skiing on one leg.  I’ve heard plenty of people with their conspiracy theories that she was never actually injured…but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that I was amazed to see her flying downhill at a blazing rate of speed.  Through hard work, determination and gritty effort, she pulled it off.

The second feat was Shaun White‘s gold-medal winning performance on the half pipe.  I must confess, I’ve missed just about every X Games in history, but I was looking forward to seeing what Shaun White was all about.  I will say that I was absolutely blown away by his snowboarding talents and abilities.  It was obvious to me, a complete snowboarding newbie, that he is miles ahead of his competition.  To sample a little bit of his magic, check this video out…

One thing is certain: no matter which sport we enjoy or which country we come from there are numerous stories of sacrifice and practice from countless athletes at the Winter Olympics.  The best of the best.  These athletes are great reminders to us that they are in Vancouver on purpose, not by accident.

For an interesting video and some insight about how Shaun White prepared for the Olympics, check out this post from author of The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle.

1 Lori February 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Hi Tim,

Wow, this is an amazing video — and I really enjoyed this post.

I always used to joke around about how, in all the events, there should be someone like me along side the competitors to really showcase how GOOD the athletes are. I mean, really, you should see me try to attempt some of these sports. There needs to be some kind of reference point, right?

Even with swimming (I know, not a winter sport, but just an example), I’m a pretty good swimmer, but put me next to someone like M. Phelps and I look like I’m dog paddling or slow-motion swimming.

Thanks for this post about the Olympics. I have always admired the athletes tremendously. There was a guy who worked out at a gym I used to frequent, and I found out he was in the ’68 Olympics (I think he was a runner and won bronze). I never looked at him the same way.

Great post!

2 Tim February 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi Lori: I know what you mean about swimming. I can sort of swim, but I be you’d look like Michelle Phelps if you swam next to me 🙂 The one thing that really hits me as I watch the Olympics is how much training that goes into it. I saw a video that said that Lindsey Vonn worked out 5 or 6 hours a day…that explains why she got so emotional when she won gold. And Shaun White had a half pipe created for him in Colorado courtesy of Red Bull so he could train in secrecy. Like you, I really admire all of the athletes for their dedication. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

3 Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord February 27, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I’m so glad you wrote this post. When I watched Shaun White do his thing (went to a friend’s house, who has TV), I said to my friend, “How cool is it that this 20-something year old has monetized his passion?” From a law of attraction standpoint, that guy is LIVING what most people dream about. He’s found a way to do what he loves and get paid for it!

And as you said, that’s allowed him to own the sport, and be a leader in it (building his own half-pipe to practice new tricks in… I mean, my GOD, who does that?!!). We are all Shaun White’s at our core. We can all do what we love and get sponsored to do it!

I really believe this, and was so moved by his energy.

Tim, this is just a great post that has me excited on many levels. Thank you!

4 Tim February 28, 2010 at 9:44 am

Hi Megan: You are right about Shaun White…he is one of those fortunate souls who gets paid (in his case a lot of) money for something he’s passionate about. I think all of us should make it our life’s journey to discover this. I saw a video of Shaun snowboarding at 11 years old…so he’s being practicing a long time. It’s a good reminder for us that there’s a good chance that we might already be working on what we are most passionate about. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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