Hi Everyone. I hope you’ve had a good August: if you’re in the UK we’ve even had a bit of sunshine which is nice. And if you’re like me then you’ve also really enjoyed the Olympics.
Something that I hadn’t realised is that, beyond gold, silver and bronze, there is a 4th type of Olympic medal. It was created by the Olympic Committee founder Pierre De Coubertin for athletes who display exceptional sportsmanship to represent:
Not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well
Recognised as one of the noblest honours that can be bestowed these medals are not commonly awarded, but there are a number of examples where selflessness has been recognised in this way. Here’s a couple of them:
Lawrence Lemieux, a Canadian sailer competing in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul received one of these medals because, whilst in second place in the race, he stopped to rescue two Singaporean sailors who had capsized and were in danger of being swept out to sea. Having pulled them out of the water he waited for help and then got back to his race. Whilst he finished 11th he was credited with second place and awarded the Coubertin medal.
Eugenio Monti, the Italian bobsledder in the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games was awarded the medal for his sportsmanship when he gave a bolt from his own sled to the British team who went on to win. Afterwards he said
“Nash didn’t win because I gave him the bolt. He won because he had the fastest run.”
I wonder if there will be any Coubertin medals awarded this year. A number of moments spring to mind, one being when Abbey D’Agostino from the US and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand ran in to each other in the women’s 5,000 meter semi-finals and Hamblin had to help D’Agostino to the end where they finished last. In recognition of the sportsmanship they had both shown they were awarded a place in the final.
Amongst all the adulation of those who win I am deeply reassured that doing the right thing is still recognised as important. Whether it’s on the sports field, in the office or when facing exam results, sometimes we cannot conquer. We can’t all be winners, but we can know that we have fought well.
To win the prize I’ve set my heart on and worked so hard for, or to set that to one side and do the right thing? We don’t have to be Olympic athletes to be faced with that kind of choice. Often the kind of choice we have to make in a split second it is also the one that can keep us awake at night and stay in our mind for years to come.
In a world where winning or getting straight ‘As’ so often seems to be all that is valued, I for one am glad to know that effort and sportsmanship are still rewarded.
Great to share Choose You moments with you. Love to have your thoughts so do share them in the comments box below.