We are about to enter into the frenzy that is the London 2012 Olympic games and as an Expat Brit I am watching the final preparations with bated breath. The recent headlines about lack of security and the long transfer times to get to the Olympic Villages and arenas are, no doubt, just the start of the ‘teething problems’ that will occur. It’s a national past-time to sit back and critique others, especially the failings of others to prepare (real and perceived), after all one would have thought that with over 4 years advance notice of the games one should have been able to plan appropriately. However, logistics aside, this is not the focus for this particular post.
Athletes from the around the world are getting ready to perform in the spotlight. The participants will have been training for years, maybe a lifetime, for this opportunity to compete with the best and to represent their countries. It is an amazing achievement of dedication, hard work, pain, sweat and tears for an event that may be over in mere seconds. Each athlete will have trained with coaches and a huge army of supporting experts to help ensure that they are at the peak of their physical condition, able to perform at their best and to react quickly to the gun going off, to control the landing from a gymnastic dismount, to shoot with extreme accuracy and to be recognized as the Olympic Champion.
During the Games we can expect to see new records set, there will be many “personal bests”; however, there also will be many “personal worsts” set as well.
The Olympic Games do not just represent exceptional physical preparation and performance. The Games are also a powerful example of Emotional Intelligence in action and the mental preparation required to be successful. Emotions drive behavior especially in stressful situations, when the pressure is on, the world is watching and this is THE moment when YOU are expected to become the best in the world. In that moment, it is not only about what you’ve trained your body to do. It’s how you stay in the game emotionally. Those athletes who haven’t learned to manage their emotional reactions, to quieten their [negative] inner voice, to steady and focus any nerves to the task at hand can inadvertently sabotage their efforts and find themselves setting their personal worst rather than their personal best.
We will be watching the games, looking to see if we can spot our friends (Barbara, John F and others) in the crowd and wishing every athlete the success and recognition that comes with being the best of the best.
You can follow the London 2012 games on twitter @London2012 and at http://www.london2012.com/
image: London 2012