My Olympic Debrief: I’m An Olympic Finalist + BONUS Coaching Tips!

When finishing 11th in the world feels like failure.

That’s what I originally wanted to title this blog in the immediate aftermath of my Olympic final.

But thankfully I’ve had a week to reflect. (I drafted this blog on 10th August!) With friends, family and fans of the sport sending encouraging messages and celebrating my ‘achievement’ and ‘success’, I’ve come to a place of contentedness with my performance at my first ever Olympic Games.

Perceiving my performance as a failure also challenged me to reassess my definition of success.

‘If you’d been told you’d finish 11th at the Olympic Games earlier this year or several years ago, you would have been pleased, right?’

‘Think about all you’ve been through to reach this point! You should be so proud of yourself!’

These were the words, questions and statements I’ve been blessed to receive in the midst of my disappointment.

And I’m so thankful for them!

Photo credit: Unknown, Largs and Millport News, Press Association

Now I can see… I did jump a 6.75m Season’s Best to qualify for the Olympic final! Wahoo!

And, out of the thousands of female long jumpers in the world, the hundreds vying for a coveted place on their nation’s Olympic team and the 32 (?) eventually selected to represent their nations in the long jump field at Tokyo, I finished 11th. Not bad, I guess.

BUT I’m also excited for next year, to learn from the mistakes I made in that Olympic final, to bounce back better than before.

What did I learn? What were my mistakes?

A foul. And now I’m going to have to jump a ‘perfect’ PB leap to get a final three jumps? Yikes!

Mindset

I rarely foul, especially not in round one. So when I fouled in round one, I was a little thrown.

Then the top eight ladies put down markers beyond 6.80.

6.80m is the second furthest distance of my life – a leap I jumped to ‘qualify’ for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

6.86m is my current Personal Best, set in August 2019.

What I’m trying to say is, seeing all those 6.80+ markers threw me again.

A foul. And now I’m going to have to jump a ‘perfect’ PB leap to get a final three jumps? Yikes!

Being thrown these two curveballs knocked me off my game. But the third curveball became the fatal blow.

What was that?

My inconsistent runway.

My original draft of this got into all of the technical details of these three lapses in high performance mindset, but I wanted to keep this short(er) and (bitter)-sweet and not make this all about me (there’s some nuggets for you a little further down!).

The main point – my mental game was not where it needed to be to elevate me to PB performances in that moment.

Wow. That’s a horrible thing to admit, but I always strive to be honest, and I won’t sugar-coat what happened.

Getty Images

But I will grow through this. Here’s what I’ve learned and what I’ll be working on for next year –

  • Play out multiple ‘troubling’, imperfect scenarios in my head. And get used to still achieving in the midst of the ‘chaos’.
  • And establish new, healthier patterns of thinking that I affirm to myself daily to retrain my brain and remind myself of my ability.

New affirmations may look like…

PB distances can come in any round, but especially in round one and certainly at crunch time!

Whatever happens at the start – whether I foul, jump poorly or my runway feels haphazard – I can identify and correct it because I’ve been in this game for long enough to know how! Cool, calm, collected.

How can you practically apply this in your own life?

Affirmations

What are you saying to yourself? What’s your self-talk like? Is it setting you up for success (‘PBs can come in the first round’) or limiting your capacity for greatness (‘I can only PB in rounds 4-6’)? And when you say these positive affirmations, do you believe them? Do you feel and inhabit the moment? Do you see yourself walking the talk and living the thought?

And if you’ve suffered a setback or disappointment recently, let me give you one nugget on resilience so you can begin your bounce back with confidence! This one may surprise you…

Acceptance

Acceptance isn’t an acquiescing to failure or setback; it is an acknowledgement of where you are today so you can define where you want to be tomorrow and bridge the gap between those two places. Where are you? Maybe it is easy enough to define, e.g. 11th place or perhaps it is a more subjective definition which may require support and guidance to identify. Where do you want to go? What’s your goal for the next month/year/three years?

Final Thoughts & Your Growth Opportunity…

Thanks for reading. It’s always my aim to be as real as I can – to share the highs and the lows – but ALWAYS to inspire, equip and empower. If you want more tips on resilience, coaching support, or motivational talks and workshops on High Performance, Resilience and Wellness for yourself, school or business, get in touch.

After all, I’ve had many setbacks and every setback becomes an opportunity for me to learn, grow and share these results with others. So… get in touch!

I'd love to hear what you think! Please leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: