Losing Can Make You a Winner
To be an Olympian you must be dedicated persistent and motivated to do more than the average athlete would do. Qualifying to compete in the Olympics can take many years or even a young lifetime to achieve. While getting to the Olympics is a huge accomplishment in itself even those top athletes can forget some of the struggles and sacrifices made to get there when things do not go according to plan.
In the gymnastic division of the Olympics current rules state that the top two representatives from each competing country qualify to compete for the all-around individual title. It is during the Olympic Games' team competition that gymnasts compete for these top two coveted spots not before.
When Team USA crowd favorite Jordyn Wieber did not qualify to compete for the all-around gymnastic title it was a huge upset for her and for fans. Going into the Olympics Wieber had only been defeated twice in the all-around competition in the past four years! She is currently the reigning U.S. and World champion in the all-around competition. Most saw her as a "shoe-in" to qualify for the all around competition because it was expected that the number one gymnast in the world would qualify. But sometimes our expectations get violated.
If you do win then you have a positive violation meaning what you thought would happen did happen in the end. This positive violation inspires you to continue to compete and you may find a new passion for your sport pushing you to excel even further. Michael Phelps exemplifies this by achieving 22 medals in his Olympic career the most ever by any athlete in the history of the Olympics.
If you do not win then you have had a negative violation. Since you expected to win and actually lost during competition you see the result as a negative experience. This can lead you to doubting yourself and even (in some cases) quitting the sport altogether especially after several or consecutive losses. It is important to remember that even the top ranked athletes in all sports have experienced a loss or disappointing performance at some point in their careers. The importance here is resilience. Losing is never easy but it happens to everyone in life at one point or another.
No matter what type of violation you experience in the competition called life it is important to remain humble. If you did not win your competitive event (in sports) do not be upset or show any signs of disapproval through the use of nonverbal communication (such as facial expressions and hand gestures). More often it is the negative reaction of an individual’s performance that audiences will remember. Actions really do speak louder than words in these situations. With technology all around you spectators capture people at their worst moments. Being captured in a negative action on video camera or even live can make or break how your fans may view you in the future. John Geddert the U.S. coach and Wieber's personal coach told Wieber "[You are] going to handle this with as much class as [you] handled the victories. Make no excuses."
This is important for Wieber’s career since she is so young in the sport. She has viewers all over the world who are watching the Olympics events and passing judgment. Kudos to Jordyn for handling this loss with class. She will be recognized as much for how she handled this losing moment as she has been for her victories in competition.
Depending on what sport you compete in you may know your results as soon as you are done while other sports such as gymnastics make you wait on stage to receive the results in front of the judges and millions of spectators. While we all have the goal to win and be the champion in our sport it does not always happen that way. With any competition there will be wins and losses. It comes with the territory. Sometimes in the heat of the moment we forget those things. When your eye is only on first place it is easy to get upset and frustrated when we do not achieve that goal. Rather than anguish think about all of the opportunities that lie ahead as is the case for Jordyn Wieber.
Wieber's Olympic experience is a reminder to all of us to fuel our passion! Obviously Jordyn did just that as we all watched in admiration as she contributed to the gold medal performance in Team USA’s Gymnastics competition. Jordyn was seated in the stands during the all-around finals on Thursday August 2nd cheering on her teammates Gabby Douglas and Alexandra Raisman. As Gabby sailed into first place and a gold medal Alexandra (Aly) narrowly missed the bronze in a heartbreaking tiebreaker decision. Was the strength Aly demonstrated in her loss inspired by the Jordyn Wieber Olympic lesson? It’s hard to know for sure. As exciting as it was to see Team USA win the gold medal and Gabby Douglas’ fantastic gold medal performance in the all-around the greatest lessons to take away from Jordyn Wieber and the "Fab 5" may come from the way they courageously and graciously faced the losses. Jordyn and her teammates are true Olympic heroes.
You can find more information about negative and positive violations here.