Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LONDON 2012 Olympic Games, ARE YOU GOING??

With 1 year and 1 day to the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games the magic question we athletes can anticipate hearing (possibly daily) is “Are you going to be competing in the Olympic Games?”

It is a question that can conjure excitement and anxiety.  For athletes in an amateur, where attention may be limited to our pursuits every 4 years, it is nice to see this interest in our endeavors.  But, at the same time the road to getting to the Olympic Games isn’t nessarily as simple as a yes/no answer.  There is a little thing called selection, and depending on your sport may involve politics, standards and performance at a National Championship.

In Athletics (Track & Field) we are actually the last sport to name our team.  Which means, while our fellow athletes in other sports may punched their tickets to the big dance as early as October of this year, we have to wait until one month before the start of London 2012, before knowing if we will be going.

Pretty incredible, eh?  But, this is a reflection of the selction process in Athletics demanding fitness and competitive level demonstrated closer to the start of the games.  A LOT can and will happen within a year.  My 12 years as a professional athlete has taught me that.  So, by the time May 2012 roles around that question “Are you going to be competing in the Olympic Games?” can be met with a lot of stress, because the real answer is most Athletic athletes don’t know for certain. 

Yet, at the same time, as athletes we must prepare as if we KNOW we are going.  Because if you can’t see it happening than your chances for its occurrence is unlikely… I believe. 

For some athletes being an Olympian is all that they may strive for, but for many the journey doesn’t end there.  It is all about performance AT the Olympic Games.  Not, surprising once someone finds out you are going to the Olympic Games, their next question is “Are you going for gold?”  Clearly, not everyone who goes to the Olympic Games will medal, but in an event which gathers the very best athletes across various sports, whose every fibre is about competing, I have to believe most athletes share the goal of going for the gold.  That’s what championships are about, to see who can perform on THAT given day.

The saying “success isn’t about the destination but rather about the journey” never meant so much to me, until in 2008, after failing to make the Olympic Games three times before I finally was named to the Olympic Games team.  And even now has I prepare for London 2012, this journey for success has taken on a brand new meaning… But, that's what success is all about, I guess.

One last note, we should never forget those who come up short with qualifying for the Olympic Games.  Most Olympians, at one point have worn those shoes. Indeed, it is also apart of the journey, and only breathes more life into the term perseverance. 

The Summer Olympic Games happens every 4 years and for 2 weeks the world seems to stand still.  But, for us the athletes, this journey to the Olympic Games is one taking longer than 4 years… maybe more than a decade for some of us.  And we look to the Olympic Games with appreciation, excitement, determination and courage to display our passion and ability to the world on the grandest stage of all, the Olympic Games.

London 2012, I’m coming for you,
Nicole