On The Olympic Games.

Watching the 2012 London Games Opening Ceremony in my room at Loughborough.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.  – Theodore Roosevelt

There’s just something magical about the Olympic Games isn’t there?

I still remember watching the Beijing Games Opening Ceremony 4 years ago, I was 21 in Bintan at a resort hotel room.

I remember thinking, wow, I’m going to get myself to the next one and compete in the decathlon just like how I thought I might have when I was 18.

Never mind the fact that I’ve never actually done a decathlon or most of the individual events before, or that I was extremely unfit coming out of the army with a busted left knee.

Somehow I believed.

Fast forward 4 years, I’m sitting in my apartment at Loughborough watching the Opening Ceremony.

So I didn’t quite make it, but I sure did try.

I must have been amazingly naive then, having no idea what it would actually take to get to become a decathlete, let alone qualify for the Olympics at that event. There’s a reason why the decathlon winner at the Olympics walks away with the title of the world’s greatest athlete.

Performances look easy when they are just numbers on a screen or on a sheet of paper. I thought, ah yes in a year I will be running this much faster and jumping this much higher scoring x amount of points, but you’d never realise how much it actually takes just to get a little bit faster or jump a little bit higher.

4 years on, my PB is 4534, about 3416 short of an Olympic ‘B’ qualifying mark.

Watching all the different events on BBC, which I must say have done an amazing job of covering the games, I can only imagine what it must be like to be actually there.

I think what draws us to the Olympics is that we get to see what is humanly possible, with 4 years of commitment at a time, it just shows how potent this mixture of time, dreams and hard work can be.

It shows how we can be at our best, where the world can come together and agree on something, and perhaps gives us a glimpse of how the world indeed can be a better place beyond these 16 days.

And in 2 days, it will be my last decathlon of the season. Not quite at the Olympic stadium, but it too will bring this 4 years to a close for me.

Will it be my last ever? I’m not sure, for a variety of reasons, it may well be.

Somehow the difference between now and 4 years ago when I was watching the Beijing Games, is that it was mainly just a thought exercise then.

Today, it’s real.

In 2 days time I have to hit the track again.

The physical exertion and exhaustion is no longer something I just see on the TV but have a deal with in reality.

I feel like this time after 4 years, I actually know what I have to do to get to where I want, but damn the amount of work ahead is scary.

Is it worth going on?

I’m not sure, I really don’t know.

But once again it’s time to let go of my doubts and fears, and let this last decathlon be a celebration of the work I’ve done for the past 4 years.

Somehow, I still believe.

I still believe in a better world.

I still believe in a better me.

Comments

  1. love your attitude! even though you didnt make the olympics, it mustve been a great way to get in shape and learn self discipline,

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