Life lessons from Rio Olympic and psrslympic games – Part 1

Usain-boltUSAIN BOLT: LIFE IS NOT A COMPETITION WITH ANYONE

John C. Maxwell once said: ‘’There is nothing noble in being superior to someone else, progress is becoming superior to your previous self.’’ In the minds of winners, it is an infallible truth that strength does not come from winning; strength comes from overcoming who you were on the road to who you are meant to be. We are living in a world where the definition of winning has been polluted. God’s plan is for you to win every day of your life, but before then your definition of winning has to change. Winning is not being better than others, you don’t need to wait for other people to lose before you win; winning is being the best of yourself. You don’t need to excel others to win, winning is excellence of self.

Life is not a competition with anyone, but a competition within yourself to be better than the person you were yesterday. Washington Allston said, ‘’the only competition worthy of a wise mind is within him.’’ Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves, to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by today, to do our work with more force than ever before. Bolt became the world’s fastest runner not by breaking other people’s record but by consistently breaking his own record, he eventually became the best.

I told you all I was going to be no.1, and I did just that”-Usain bolt
The greatest form of abuse in life is comparison and any man that encourages you to be someone else has already despised your purpose of existence. A winning attitude believes that there is a better us, and our best comes not by comparing but by stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone. Comparing yourself to others is a demeaning way of throwing your self-esteem down the drain. In fact, the greatest form of torture and abuse is comparison.

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is arguably the fastest man ever in the world, a man acclaimed to be running with the velocity of a spear darting through the air! His legendary feat has earned him a well- deserved title of “lightning Bolt”. Usain Bolt was born in Trelawny, Jamaica on August 21, 1986. Bolt’s natural speed was noticed by coaches at school, and he began to improve greatly in sprinting under the tutelage of Pablo McNeil, a former Olympic sprint athlete. As early as age 14, Bolt was wowing fans of sprinting with his lightning speed. At the age of 15, Bolt took his first shot at success on the world stage at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, where he won the 200-meter dash, making him the youngest world-junior gold medallist ever. Bolt’s feat impressed the athletics world, and he received the International Association of Athletics Foundation’s Rising Star Award that year and soon was given the apt nickname “Lightning Bolt”.

“It’s a great feat for me to have broken my world record”-Usain Bolt
Bolt’s sojourn into winning Olympic gold started in 2007 when he broke the national 200-meter record held for over 30 years by Donald Quarrie, and earned two silver medals at the world championship in Osaka, Japan. During the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in China, Bolt broke the world record in the 100-meter final, winning in 9.69 seconds. He eventually won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and becoming the first man in Olympic history to win both the 100meters and 200meters races in record times since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977.

At the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Bolt improved his world record to a time of 9.58s to win his first World championship gold medal. Bolt once again produced world record-breaking form in the 200 meters final. He broke his own record by 0.11seconds, finishing with a time of 19.19 seconds. On the last day of the Berlin Championships, the governing mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, presented Bolt with a 12-foot section of the Berlin wall in a small ceremony saying Bolt had shown that “one can tear down walls that had been considered insurmountable”.

Bolt won his fourth Olympic gold medal in the men’s 100meters race at the 2012 summer Olympic Games in London. He ran the race in 9.63seconds, a new Olympic record, making him the first man in the history to set three World records in a single Olympics games competition. He went on to compete in the men’s 200, claiming his second consecutive gold medal in that race. He is the first man to win both the 100 and 200 in consecutive Olympic Games, as well as the first man to ever win back-to-back gold medals in double sprints.

“Anything is possible, I don’t think limits”-Usain Bolt
On 10th March 2014, Usain added another award to his growing collection as he was awarded the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award at a ceremony in New York. The award presented annually to one World-Class athlete based on their values of integrity, uncompromised sportsmanship, and excellence in athletic competition was created in 1981 in honor of the celebrated track and field American star Jesse Owens who won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in Germany. Bolt was up against some great and illustrious candidates such as; Tiger Woods (USA, Golf), Serena Williams (USA, Tennis), MO Farah (GBR, Athletics), Michael Phelps (USA, Swimming), Lionel Messi (ARGENTINA, Soccer), LeBron James (USA, Basketball) and Marit Bjoergen (NORWAY, cross-country skiing). At the 2014 commonwealth Games in Glasgow, it was very glaring that Bolt was there to glow, the Jamaican’s victory at the 4 X 100meters earns Bolt the commonwealth gold medal he craved.

Bolt’s recent outstanding performance in Rio has left his name in the book of legends. On the 19th of August, 2016, he won his ninth Olympic gold medal and became the greatest Olympic sprinter in history. Bolt showed us one last time why he is the best ever. The Jamaican superstar adds 4x100m title to 100m and 200m gold medals and becomes first person to win all three events at three consecutive Olympic Games. He is definitely the closest man ever to the speed of light and in my humorous form, I will want to say that even Zeus, the Greek god that is symbolic with lightning has become envious of the athlete that has broken all records and whose speed across the finishing line is always heralded by ‘lightning’! For Usain Bolt, fast is an attitude.

I don’t think about records. I’m only keen on breaking mine – Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt once said, “I can’t, I won’t compare myself with Michael Phelps, I’m on the track; he’s in the water. We can’t compare too much. He’s best in what he does”. I want to reach out to the youths to pause and reflect; it is high time we stopped the mad rush to overtake one another in the pursuit of wealth and mundane achievements. Life is not a race; life must be lived according to God’s pace. The worst yardstick to evaluate yourself is others.

Finally, I would like to address parents who have turned their children to victims by forcing and manipulating them to live a life that they themselves should have lived when they were younger. Designing the future of a child is beyond parental ‘jurisdiction’. Parents should avoid the temptation of forcing their children to fit into their own design but rather, provide them with a platform to stand out with their uniqueness. As a youth coach, I have observed that the nation is producing outwardly submissive but inwardly rebellious children; children with violated destinies. The greatest gift parents can ever give to their children is to provide them with a platform to be themselves.

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Usain Bolt


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