Monday, March 1, 2010

Lessons from the 2010 Winter Olympics

If you were like me, you would have spend the last couple of weeks sleepless, watching the Winter Olympics. Every two years the Winter or Summer Olympics comes along and mesmerizes me with mounds and mounds of sheer athleticism and super-human talent. There's something about diverse individuals from nations big and small, coming together for one purpose that is compelling beautiful. However, the Olympics weren't entirely without hiccups either. Among prodigious talent and coveted medals were stories and lessons for those who were looking for them. Some, even related to personal finance.

1) China's Shen and Zhao win figure skating gold.
One of the oldest if not the oldest pair at 31 and 36, Shen and Zhao paired up on the ice 18 years ago. Competing with those half their age in a sport dominated by the young and the agile, they put on an almost error free routine to win the gold. They aptly demonstrated that starting young and persevering will lead to fortunes, no matter how long you have to wait.

2) Canada's Joannie Rochette wins figure skating bronze.
Just 2 days before she skated her short program, Joannie's mother passed away from a heart attack. If she had withdrawn, her country would have understood. But she did not. Overcoming overwhelming grief,  she skated a breathtaking short program, and 2 days later performed her personal best free skate routine to put Canada on the podium after 18 long years. She showed the world that when faced with an unanticipated turn of events, keeping your focus on the task at hand will bring you great success.

3) Dutchmen Sven Kramer literally crosses the line.
After Nodar Kumaritashvili's tragic death, this was the most poignant event of the 2010 Olympics for me. The uber-talented speedskater would have set a new Olympic record and won 3 medals if he hadn't been disqualified for listening to his coach and making an illegal lane change. It was definitely not his fault, but the rules are what they are. His gut-wrenching disqualification exemplifies that the journey is as important as the destination - so pay attention.

4) Czech speedskater Martina Sablikova wins 2 golds and a bronze.
Many athletes won multiple medals. So what was special about Sablikova? You only need to look at her to see what's special about her. She defies convention. Whereas other speedskaters have a body type characterized by strong and bulky thighs which help them dart along the ice, Martina looks like a tooth pick at 5'7" and 119 lbs. Yet her speed won her 3 medals. Martina Sablikova proves that when it comes to success, stereotypes can be broken.

5) Canada's Chris Del Bosco loses the Bronze.
Ski-Cross finalist Del Bosco had the bronze in his pocket in this dynamic sport's Olympic debut. Then he made a risky jump for gold (yes gold, not even silver) and crashed spectacularly just before the finish line. Del Bosco later admitted that he wasn't content with a 3rd place finish (leading some to point the finger at Canada's 'Own The Podium' campaign - didn't anyone tell him that bronze was a spot on the podium?) His miss demonstrates that unnecessary risks are always a bad idea.

Readers, can you list other moments from the Olympics from which you identified a life-lesson or one related to personal finance?

I'll leave you with one of my favorite moments of these Olympics - kd lang's awe-inspiring rendition of Hallelujah which you can view by clicking here.

Since the youtube video has been taken down, I've also embedded her performance at the 2005 Juno Awards which I feel has better acoustics anyway. Enjoy!

image by mcadooja

1 comment:

  1. I liked that Bode Miller's positive change in attitude (remember how he acted in '04 and NO medals?) resulted in a positive outcome of events (humbled, focused and 3 medals!).

    LOVED kd too!!


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