With the London 2012 Olympic Games drawing closer, now is a great time to reflect and draw inspiration for our own training from the incredible athletic performances of previous Games.
An inspirational story of exceptional bravery and focus unfolded with the US Women’s Gymnastics team during the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, which quickly became legend through the US, and is still talked about with high emotion today.
In the previous four Olympic Games, the US Women’s Gymnastics team had gone in as resounding favourites to win the gold medal in the all-around event…and yet, they had always found a way to lose to the Russians. This medal was the monkey on their back!
The Atlanta 1996 team was captained by Kerri Strug, a gritty competitor who publicly stated in a national interview four months prior to the Atlanta Games that they would win the gold medal. A bold statement that brought loads of pressure and public expectation!
Going into the final apparatus of the event and on the last day of competition, the US team were in the lead, on the verge of an historic victory. As luck would have it, the unthinkable happened when the youngest team member, Dominique Moceanu, fell in both of her attempted vault landings.
Kerri, the team’s strongest competitor and captain, stepped up to the mark, but landed awkwardly off the vault and severely injured her ankle. Heavily favouring her injured ankle, she hobbled off the landing mat; it seemed inconceivable that she might sprint down the run to land one more vault and secure a victory for her team.
With Team Russia taking a narrow lead due to her team mates previously ill-fated vault landings, Kerri needed to nail her last vault landing in order to claim that elusive gold medal. Barely able to walk, Kerri summoned all her determination and courage to get up, sprinting down the run toward the vault, landing impeccably on her one good leg to claim the gold medal for her team.
This intense focus to overcome your odds and succeed is what we encourage all our gym members to draw inspiration from. And on the eve of the London 2012 Olympics, I encourage you to draw on your own intense focus and direct it towards your health and fitness goals, so you can lead the life you deserve: a life with incredible vitality and energy everyday!