Thursday, August 16, 2012

Championship Factors: Olympic Athletes

NBC uses a lot of air time to bring these close up looks of the athletes to the viewing public. And the network did a good job of communicating the nature of the time, money and energy sacrifices that the athletes and their families need to make to make it to this elite level of sports.


Over the years, I have been lucky enough to counsel a number Olympic athletes including four gold medal winners. These athletes were from a variety of sports including gymnastics, weight lifting, boxing, skiing and rowing.

This year, two clients of mine brought home gold medals. Because of client confidentiality regulations, I can not share very much about them. However, it was quite thrilling to see people who sat in my office on the gold medal platform. I have also interviewed three or four previous gold medal winners for my weekly column.

Not surprisingly, these athletes have great discipline, focus and resiliency. They also have great passion for their sport and their teammates. They also have strong feelings about representing their country.

Like the rest of us, they also have fear, anxiety and interpersonal conflicts with people in their lives.
What is really striking to me, however, is the fact that to a person, all of these remarkable athletes are quite humble, soft spoken and very respectful.
None of them were arrogant or grandiose. Rather, they were all quite genuine and down to earth.

Article Source:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Olympic Medal Count - Factors

As the Olympics wind down, many sports fans are looking at the number of medals won by each country.  Historically, the medals compiled by participating countries has been related to several key factors, including:

  • population
  • financial and/or economic resources, and
  • home field advantage.  
This year, the current leaders include the U.S., China, Great Britain, and Russia.  The always interesting Bleacher Report writes:

It should stand to reason that a country among the global leaders in available financial and human resources would be far more successful in athletic events that require elite athleticism, expensive training and state-of-the-art facilities.  

And, we have seen patriotism at the Olympic Games lead to some historic triumphs, such as the 1980 Miracle on Ice.   NPR reports more on the home field advantage, academic papers on the "Olympic Medal Analyses" -- and even an additional factor: communism!  Right around the time of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two academic papers on medal counts came out, by Bernard of Dartmouth, and Johnson of Colorado College.  Here is a link to Bernard's paper.

Check these nice graphics out by the Huffington Post -- which shows totals medals, as well as medals divided by population or GDP.   Numbers -- and pictures -- can tell interesting stories!