Is taking part all that matters?

We are well into the Olympics and have seen some monumental performances form some of our sports men and women. Bradley Wiggins epitomizes what a winning mentality can bring you. Fresh off the back of winning the world’s toughest bike race the Tour de France, he put in a hard shift in the mens road race and then blitzed to victory in the mens time trial.

For every great performance with 10 medals at the time of writing there does seem to be an equal number of athletes who’s aims are much lower. Athletes who seem content with getting to a final and are not disappointed, even to the point of being pleased about finishing 7th or 8th in that final.

So I ask the question is the taking part in the Olympics all that matters? Is this the lesson we should be teaching our children?

Our rowers leave everything on the water. Blood, sweat and tears, you can see at the end there is nothing left to give, everything is put into winning a medal or in some cases striving for the ultimate gold medal. The men’s lightweight four were disappointed with Silver, they wanted gold. Likewise our mens eight felt bronze wasn’t enough for them. Bradley Wiggins stated in interview that he came for gold and that any other colour didn’t matter to him. Is it in the coaching, are our cyclists and rowers taught to win and that is what is most important, but in other sports such as swimming, just being in the olympics is achievement enough?

I personally want to win or be the best at everything I do. Second best is not something I have ever aspired to be. Whilst in adult life I have learnt to at least accept second as long as I know I have given 100%,  it is still not something I am ever proud of. In my teens I represented my county at cross-country, my town in football and had county trials in cricket yet it’s only the wins I ever really remember. Some may suggest reaching county level is a great achievement and in some respects they are right, but to me, in reality, it means I wasn’t good enough to reach the top.

My son is only 10 months old but as he grows and develops both me and his mum will guide him in what we expect of him and what he should expect of himself. We both take a view that he should strive to be the very best at what he does. I would rather see him take the Bradley Wiggins, or our rowers approach and aim for gold. By aiming high we have seen all of these perform to a level they should be proud of because they know, they have given absolutely everything to try to achieve their goals. If my son can say that in everything he does, then I know he will be a success in what ever it is he hopes to accomplish in life.

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