Sunday, August 17, 2008


Great champions always speak a language that sets them apart from the rest.

Late on Friday night when I spoke to Sir Steve Redgrave about this weekend's sporting bonanza and how Britain might fare, he made it clear that what matters to him was winning gold medals.

The total medals haul did not concern him, he would rate British performances on the basis of how many golds were won.

And I am beginning to think that the Chinese are learning that in competitive sport anything less than winning gold is just not good enough.

The Australian belief that all that matters is winning is well known.

I shall always cherish the put-down an Australian supporter gave to an Indian cricket fan just after the 2003 Cricket World Cup final in Johannesburg.

The Australians had smashed the Indians that day but the Indian supporter took consolation from the fact that India had finished as runners up.

The Australian supporter turned round and told the Indian with a contempt in his voice that I shall never forget, "Mate, you know what a runner up is? It means you are the first loser."

Now you may think this is the exact antitheses of the Olympic spirit. Surely it is all about competing , not winning?

Don't you believe it.

Olympic winners like Michael Phelps want to win come what may. I am not saying they will cheat to win, but they see victory as defining their Olympic moment. Just taking part does not count And, of course, that winning mentality is crucial to success.

At the highest level of sport the difference in ability between a gold medalist and a silver, or a bronze is very rarely that great. But a belief that victory is everything can often separate the good, even the very good, from the great.

In my experience Indians, who consistently under-achieve in sports, do not have such a belief. They often console themselves by taking comfort in a heroic defeat when a true champion would be railing against it and asking why was the defeat not turned into victory.

The British, too, have in the past tended to suffer from that; glorifying defeat rather then questioning it.

If I read the Chinese tears right then this country, which so admires America, is trying to acquire the American belief in winning.
And as if to demonstrate this, five days after her initial tears Du was again in tears but these were tears of joy as she won a women's 50m rifle 3 position gold.

Her earlier tears were, she said, a spur to her success

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What do you think? Our athletes also suffer from this attitude which only breeds mediocrity. I don't agree wholeheartedly with the article I just want our athletes to stop wallowing in mediocrity, work hard and win. Please settle for international standards or world records not national ones. I believe our athletes can win esp. with the right attitude. Losing is NOT bad as long as one use it as a stepping stone towards future success. Unfortunately, most athletes here make so many excuses when losing instead of learning from it and become a much better athlete in the future.

The only Filipino athlete I know that has this very competitive attitude is Manny Pacquiao. He detests losing even in other games like chess. After losing to Erik Morales, Manny put his life back to order and corrected his deficiencies. As a result he won all his fights from then on and the same time improving his boxing skills. Now, he is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

I also enjoy seeing Australians lose sometimes because they really take it hard like two weeks ago getting destroyed by New Zealand in the Tri-Nations.

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