Every four years (five in this last cycle), we are universally blessed with the global enormity of the Olympic Games. It’s almost impossible to watch the Olympic Games and to not in some capacity be touched by its emotive stories of raw determination, perseverance, self-belief, and heart ache; and of human endeavour and achievement.
I arrived later than most to Tokyo 2020. I moved house on the opening day of the Games, and with no internet connection or television access, I missed much of the first week of competition. Today (with a full internet connection), I enjoyed my favourite moment in Tokyo – Laura Muir’s silver medal in the 1500m. Laura Muir epitomises the quality of character we take for granted within our Olympians. Perhaps most strikingly apparent in her behaviour is the value of humility. There is an infectious humility to Team GB this year. And it is so inspiring.
Every Games, I am inspired by something or someone. In Rio it was the superhuman accomplishments of Usain Bolt. In these last few days, I have been reflecting on what I will take away from Tokyo 2020. With Covid-19 and Simone Biles, this has been the mental health games. Every single athlete deserves a medal for making it to Tokyo amidst the barriers and uncertainty created by the pandemic. But mental health awareness per se will not be my 2020 Olympics souvenir.
I am so incredibly inspired by Laura Muir’s humility. In her post run interview, teeming with emotion, she reflected, ‘I have worked so hard for so long’. Try listening to her tone in this interview without too feeling the emotion of her journey. She is so quietly hard-working and so modestly determined to be the best she can be. I am inspired by Adam Peaty’s self-belief. After retaining his 200m Breast-Stroke gold medal in Tokyo, a philosophical Peaty said, ‘We don’t challenge ourselves enough these days’. Such strong and true words. We need to take risks. We need to fail. We need to fall. We need to keep believing in ourselves.
Gold, silver, fourth or any place, these Olympic athletes are all winners. They are winners because they own the values we seek to demonstrate, day after day, year after year. So my Olympic souvenir for Tokyo 2020 will be the values and the mental and physical aptitude displayed by Team GB. These values provide such a simple blueprint, or framework, to inspire us lesser mortals to do more with our lives.
Team GB have shown us these values and the mental and physical aptitude to achieve longevity of greatness within ourselves, regardless of outcome. Now, more of us must find ways to map these values onto the next generation.