Written by Karen D. Swim
Gymanastics is a fascinating sport. The combination of power, speed and grace require athleticism and artistry uncommon in other sports. I watched the Olympic Women’s All-Around Finals last night awed by the performances. One by one each tiny little gymnast running toward a balance beam. Their bodies moving down the runway with such speed you could almost visibly see the wind behind them. I watched the power of their leg muscles pulsating as they ran and then with a forceful bound up in the air, twisting and landing on a tiny 4 inch wide piece of wood.
It takes an incredible amount of power to perform any of these gymnastic routines. I know how hard it is to simply do a few sets of military push ups (aka the boy kind). I cannot imagine propelling my weight in the air and then precisely controlling my movements in that way. Wow!
As I watched I thought of the lessons from these gymnasts that could be applied to life.
You can get the same score with a different style. Shawn Johnson is 4’9′ and weighs 90 pounds. She is all muscle and power much like former gymnast Mary Lou Retton. Teammate, Nastia Liukin is tall for a gymnast, 5’3″ and she is lean and graceful. Each approached the balance beam differently but received the same score. Whether you do two and half twists or one your outcome can rival others in your space. Do your routine to the best of your ability.
The way you take off impacts your landing. You can’t meander toward the balance beam. To gain the power needed to carry you through, you must run headlong at top speed. The speed powers the momentum that enables you to bound upwards toward your goal. If you want it, you have to go for it, commit to yourself and your actions and take off at top speed.
There’s room on the podium for more than one winner. Even when it was apparent that Liukin had locked up the gold medal, Johnson approached her final routine ready to rock the performance of her life. Liukin did take the gold but Johnson stood next to her as the silver medalist. Don’t let the accomplishments of others intimidate you. You have earned the right to compete. Rock the performance of your life. This is your moment in the spotlight, so shine.
You can’t control the actions of others. The gymnasts could only control their own performances. The judges had the power to deduct points and downgrade the difficulty of routines. We can prepare and execute but we cannot control how others respond to our performance. You can use their feedback to improve but you are truly only in control of yourself. Give it your all and trust the results.
Stick the landing. You may wobble a bit on the beam or get to close to the low bar on the uneven bars but still have a great landing. As you tumble through the air, spot that target and focus on grabbing hold of it with all you’ve got. When you land upright, both feet on solid ground, you can raise your hands in victory. All the effort of the journey, even the missteps led to that moment. Stick it and smile!
Remember, even if you do land on your butt, you’re still looking up!
Now, dear readers over to you. What are your Olympic words of wisdom? Feel free to share whatever is on your mind right there in the comments. Hey, and if you like this post, click the “Share This” beneath the post to stumble, digg or post to your favorite bookmarking site. 🙂
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