By: Express Employment Professionals
Every other year, athletes from around the globe gather in one place to compete for the top honors in their sports. This year, the Olympic Games are taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and promise to continue the tradition of creating unforgettable moments of athleticism and grit.
Already the champions of their home countries, Olympians share a goal to become world champions in their events. They aim to take home the gold medal and secure their place in history. In addition to training and talent, the competing athletes also find inspiration in those who have gone before them. Like those traveling to Rio this August, you can use the lessons of past Olympians to help you on your path to beating the competition—whether it’s in your job search, on the corporate ladder or in the workplace.
Never give up.
It’s 1980, and the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, are well underway. Never regarded as a top team in the sport, the United States men’s hockey team found themselves with the odds stacked against them. Made up of amateur and collegiate players, the U.S. team was pitted against powerhouse Russia. In an unexpected, stunning display of commitment and strength, they beat the Soviet team and went on to win gold. Now recognized as the “Miracle on Ice,” the victory went down in history as an example of grit that continues to inspire today. If you’re up against incredible odds, take a lesson from Lake Placid and remember that anything is possible.
Fight through the challenges.
Gymnast Kerri Strug, a member of the historic “Magnificent Seven,” had a heroic showing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Not only did Strug help ensure the United States’ first-ever team gold medal in Women’s Gymnastics, her second vault performance went down in history when she stuck the landing after a serious ankle injury on the previous attempt. Strug’s performance is a reminder that passion and courage can overcome even the most challenging of times.
Let nothing stand in your way.
Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton won the 1984 Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles, after taking home numerous U.S. and world championship titles. Known for his backflips and entertaining athleticism, Hamilton went on to make history in his sport. In 1997, however, Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer. With renewed perspective and goals, he continued to perform professionally until he retired four years later. In 2004, Hamilton received a brain tumor diagnosis, and yet again overcame his odds. The Olympian’s unyielding courage and strength is proof that, when you have your mind set on a goal, nothing can stop you from reaching it.
Accept help from other.
After his own athletes had been eliminated early in the competition, Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth still made history at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During one of the races, Wadsworth noticed Russian Anton Gafarov struggling to complete the course. He had crashed and broken a ski, which wrapped around his foot and caused him to drag across the course. When no one, including Gafarov’s own coaches, stepped in to help, Gafarov jumped to action. He grabbed a spare ski from his Canadian team and ran onto the track, where he pulled off the broken equipment and replaced it. Gafarov was able to cross the finish line with Wadsworth’s help, a reminder that even the best of the best need a little help every now and then.
Still a newer sport in the Olympic Games, snowboarding has come a long way since athletes like Shaun White have taken over. A daring, stunning athlete, White shocked spectators during the 2010 Vancouver snowboarding halfpipe finals when he completed the world’s first Double McTwist 1260. The trick, which is the most difficult in the history of the sport, earned White the gold medal and instant fame. White recognized the risk and reward of being the first to accomplish a groundbreaking feat, and his Olympic run is a reminder that giving it your all can put you on top.
Go against the grain.
In 1960, barefoot running had yet to become a trend. So when Abebe Bikila, an Olympian from Ethiopia, ran the marathon in Rome without shoes, he made history. A last-minute replacement for an injured teammate, Bikila had issues with his running shoes and decided to run barefoot in the heat of the late afternoon. Not only did Bikila win the gold medal, he shattered the Olympic record and set a new world best. Bikila’s inspiring story proves that thinking outside the box, and being quick to adapt to challenges, can set you apart from the competition.
As one of the most beloved Olympians of our time, Muhammad Ali, once said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” If you’re trying to beat the competition and land a job, get a promotion or start a business, you may have to take risks and put it all on the line. Like the Olympic champions before you, your success will be defined by how you choose to beat the odds and reach your goals.
Remember, with courage, passion and perseverance, your definition of a gold medal can be attained.