In the wake of Jamaican Alia Atkinson's disappointing swim in the 100m Breaststroke finals in Rio (still great that she made a second finals), we offerthis perspective from Alvin Day
The Olympics certainly can be a symbol of success, personal power, persistence, commitment and a host of other virtues. However, beware the seduction of stadium competitions contrived to entertain us and create heroes. They tell a false story of life, based on scarcity, where one wins and all the others lose. Believe the gold medal story and you may think that only one person in each event is truly great. Nature is abundant; it is not organized for one winner in each field, but for as many as will prepare, implement, fail and go again until they outperform themselves.
For every one gold medal recipient, there are scores who failed to qualify for the event, often by a fraction of a second, or a fraction of an inch. Yet, for many who pay the price of preparation and do not get to compete at the Olympics, life offers an abundant array of options that can bring spectacular success—success that is often more sustainable than a one-off medal might be. In the meantime, after the gold and the glory, many “Retired Olympians struggle with return to daily life,” according to an NCB TV article.