Sure, their stories of sacrifice and triumph can seem cliche. But don’t you love seeing hard work get rewarded on the world stage like I do? Of course you do. Just make sure you don’t compare yourself to them, because it’s just not fair.
Olympians have huge advantages over you.
They have incredible athletic genes. You’re built for comfort, not speed. They look good in skin-tight spandex no retail clerk should ever be allowed to sell you. And besides their natural talents, Olympians have four huge advantages over us Manic Impressives.
1) Super Successful Parents – No offense, but your parents are kind of lame compared to the parents of Olympians. These parents get up early to take their kids to practice, work two jobs to pay for gear, and are disciplined, motivated role models.
Many are stud athletes like Michele Carter’s dad. Michele was the first American woman to win gold in the shot put since 1948. Her dad Michael Carter won the silver in shot put back in 1984, then won 3 Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco Forty Niners.
Your dad’s got a league bowling trophy, does he? Sorry, not in the same galaxy. Stop embarrassing yourself.
2) A Singular Focus on Goals – They know exactly what they want and they devote all their time and energy working to get it. Reigning beach volleyball champion Kerry Walsh Jennings is a good example of this. A tenacious competitor, Kerry wants to win in all aspects of life, and be the best athlete, the best wife, and the best mother she can possibly be. With 3 young kids and three gold medals, Kerri stated her life’s purpose in these 9 words:
“I was born to have babies and play volleyball.”
Wow. Such clarity often escapes us Manic Impressives. We sometimes take decades figuring out what we want to be when we grow up. Life would be much easier for us if we could boil our talents and passions down to such simple terms.
3) An Early Start – Michael Phelps won 5 more gold medals last week. At 31 years old and 28 total medals, he’s the most decorated Olympian of all time. USA, USA, USA!
But he started swimming at age 7, held a national record at age 10, and qualified for the U.S. Olympic team at 15. Remember what you were doing at 15? Like me, you were probably a spaz with braces, zits, and a C- in Algebra.
This is another advantage Olympians have over you. They find their passion and identify their talent at an early age. It’s easier to devote all your energy to something when you’re a teenager. To do this as an adult, like many Manic Impressives must, is a much tougher task. There’s a living to make, a mortgage to pay, and dependents to provide for. Sorry, there’s no fixing this.
4) Brilliant Coaching and a Competitive Environment – The U.S. Women’s Gymnastic team won the team gold medal and 2/3 of all the gold and silver medals awarded. USA’s 5 gymnasts won 9 medals, the same number won by the other 85 women in the competition.
That is massive domination. USA, USA, USA!
Again, they have an advantage you don’t. They have the best coaching in the world, and the competition amongst their teammates brings the best out of them all. Yes, I’m making assumptions here, but I’m pretty sure your coach is no Martha Karolyi (88 world championships, 100 Olympic medals). And no way your teammates crush it like Simone, Aly, Madison, Laurie, & Gabby.
OH MY GOODNESS! Did you see that! The Americans just swept the Women’s 100 meter hurdles for the first time in history! Brianna Rollins Gold, Nia Ali Silver, and Kristi Castlin Bronze.
USA, USA, USA!
I know these folks are intimidating and can make us feel inferior. But that’s okay. You don’t need a medal. You just need to do better than you’ve done up ’til now. And you don’t have to finish in time for the 2020 games in Tokyo. You have until you die to get it done.
Your parents may be lame, your coach a slob, and your teammates whiny and jealous. But you’ve got us. We Manic Impressives can be your Olympic teammates, and together we can help each other cross the finish line and achieve our personal bests.
What if we all declare a goal for ourselves and spent the next four years working toward it? By the time the 2020 Games roll around we’ll all have something to show for it and maybe a little gold.
So let’s give it a shot. Post your goal and we’ll help each other out. My goal is to have 1000 subscribers to this blog in a year and 10,000 by 2020. Tell me your goal, then gear up and let’s do this – on your mark, get set, GO!
USA, USA, USA!