Friday, July 27, 2012

Go For Gold 4

Claim to fame:
World and Olympic women’s 400m hurdles gold medallist
Olympic women’s 400m hurdles record holder
Second fastest time in history in the women’s 400m hurdles

Jamaica's renown 400m hurdler, who has won Olympic gold in the event, is beloved and admired by many all over the world. Her event is one which teaches a phenomenal message of perseverance and literally jumping over obstacles – a message that sooner or later every winner becomes well acquainted with.

This means that you don’t quit, you don’t stop, you always keep moving ahead. You know what they say: winners never quit and quitters never win. Melaine’s event requires jumping over hurdles. This is a lesson in persistence. In life, you will face challenges - big, scary ones. The thing to do is to keep your composure (as Melaine does), and never give up. As you see difficulties come at you on your journey to success, remember Melaine, run to face that challenge, and then jump over it and move on to success!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Go For Gold 3

Claim to fame:
2007 Pan Am Games men’s decathlon gold medallist
2007 Osaka World Championships men’s decathlon silver medallist
First Jamaican to win a medal in the men’s decathlon at a world championship
Jamaica team captain - 2008 Beijing Olympics

Maybe not very many Jamaicans know about one of the nation's finest decathletes, but  Maurice Smith made history when he won the country’s first medal in the decathlon at a World Championship. He was also selected as captain of Jamaica's Olympic team at the 2008 meet. This means that he displays some key qualities that make him stand out to our athletics organisers.

It is always a plus if you display the ability to motivate, encourage, and inspire others to achieve and be their best. Maurice is very good at this, and that is why he is so often selected to be leader of the nation's athletics groups. Smith has not only stood out in his event at different international meets, but also takes the time to encourage others to pursue gold as well. This is one of the hallmarks of a winning attitude.

Working together with other people is another important quality that all successful athletes must possess. They meet a variety of people every day - trainers, coaches, journalists, sponsors - and they have to learn to work well with them all if they want to have exemplary careers. It is very true that no man is an island, and our athletes - and winners - understand that a good relationship with everyone is an essential part of success. Maurice Smith, as team captain, certainly displays that!

The decathlon comprises 10 different events: 100m, 400m, 100m hurdles, 1500m, long jump, discus throw, javelin throw, high jump and shot put. The athlete has to do well in all of these events to get enough points to place in the top three and win a medal. Maurice, therefore, cannot  just focus on one event and neglect the others, and then expect to win a medal. He has to try to be good at as many events out of the ten as possible to increase his winning chances.

Success in any field is no different. There are usually sub-parts that make up the area a person wants to do well in. Excellence in this area will only come after you work on being good in each sub-part. So, for example, if you want to be a good writer, you have to work on your grammar, punctuation, clarity in getting points across, and using different parts of speech in your story. When you master all of these, you will be an excellent writer.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Go For Gold 2

Claim to fame:
Second woman in history to win the Olympic women’s 200m gold back to back
Five-time Olympic medallist
Nine-time World Championship medallist
100 yard world record holder
First female athlete to be named UNESCO Champion for Sport goodwill ambassador

Veronica Campbell-Brown has been involved in athletics for a very long time, and has a reputation for always giving her best and creating history in almost every race she has participated in. We can look at her consistent performance as a result of much discipline and training.

This means developing and sticking with habits that help you to achieve your goal, even when you don't feel like it and even when it gets hard. For Veronica, this means regular training and practice. She has to practice her race start, turning corners for the 200m, do various exercises, and eat healthy. I'm sure she doesn't always feel like eating vegetables instead of fast food, but discipline is about making the decisions that will benefit you in the long run, and sometimes that means refusing to do what will gratify you now.

If there's one thing you can say about VCB, she always looks calm before and after her races. In fact, you hardly see her getting agitated or displaying nervousness and fear. This is the result of confidence, which is that quality in winners that makes them sure that they have what it takes to win.

Usain is another example of confidence. He's so calm, he can even play around with the cameras before races. Confidence is the result of hard work and training. If you've practiced and properly prepared, you  can feel confident that you will give nothing less than your best on your big day.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Go for Gold

The Secret to Going for Gold

Athletics has always been one of Jamaica's favorite sports. We've all admired the strength and agility of the nation's top sprinters, who have earned the respect of the entire world, and have placed Jamaica's name more firmly on the map as a country of outstanding achievers.

But have you ever stopped to think about how our athletes manage to excel like that? What is it about them that makes them so very successful? Were they born more special than me and you? Is it, as some people say, the Trelawny yam that makes Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown so fast?

Or could it be that they have learnt and applied fundamental principles to their lives that guarantee this success? And could it be that if you or I were also to learn and apply these principles to our own lives, we would be rewarded with equal success?

Let's take a look at the lives of some of these athletes and see what we can learn from them.

Claim to fame:
Three- time world and Olympic gold medalist
World and Olympic 100m record holder
World and Olympic 200m record holder
First athlete to hold both sprint world records at the same time

Far beyond his conquest on the field, it is important to look at how Usain prepares himself mentally for each challenge on the track.

Self- belief
This is a person's sense of confidence in their own ability to do what it takes to win. You have to believe you can achieve the goal you have set out to conquer, in order to do so. And I'm sure that Usain has made believers out of all of us. He has, through his remarkable athletic achievements, convinced the world of something that HE first believed - that he could break the world record in the men's 100 and 200m, and that he is one of, if not the best athlete the world has ever seen. The important point is this: Usain had to believe in himself before he could convince anybody else of his talent.

This is the quality in a person that allows them to push for the accomplishment of a goal, even when the odds are against them. Determination is often used with another word: drive, which describes an individual's deep desire to see something happen, and their constant pursuit of that goal. Usain is a clear picture of this. In his races, you always see, from his facial expression to the way he exerts his strength, that he is pushing for gold and nothing less, and it usually results in success.

Hard work is necessary for success, but so is a little rest and relaxation. Great athletes know that they have to balance work and play order to remain healthy. Relaxation helps to calm the nerves and release stress and tension. Usain  is a good example of this. He can be very playful and fun, even though, when it's time to perform on the track, he settles down, focuses and gets the job done. This is because Usain understands that ll work and no play will make Jack a very dull boy.