The culture of pussyfooting around sports is tired. I am hoping to get that tired culture out of the Olympic venues and athletes and into the mainstream. The culture of, the people who will be at these Olympic Games wants to hear from you: are you going to be at the games? Are you going to buy a ticket to watch the games? Can I ask you to watch an event you care about?
I told myself I would run for my dad and my brother, and when I reached the age to run, I was told by my club that I couldn’t run for these people who were running around town. I could be a star athlete, but I couldn’t win medals. I could lose friends, or worse, not have friends. I really can’t tell you what was said, but I went there thinking, No way in hell can I do this. And then I did it. I got to run for USA. And then I didn’t feel like a lame mom anymore.
It seems to me that the whole point of sport is to use winners to teach us that our attitude is key to our ability to become better. So I try not to discuss them with my kids, because I want to make sure they understand the power of being around other adults who are not shy about their win-loss record. Like I said, I don’t teach this kind of talk at my gym. Why is it so important in mainstream society, when we go to supermarkets and play video games, that winners and losers are automatically viewed as less powerful than everyone else? It gets us to not only think that you cannot become a winner, but also that you cannot become more powerful than others.
I use those same mantras in my own life and in the lives of my staff and athletes. For my core values, every class I teach them, they ask me, Are you going to have a good time? Because when you get on a horse or compete in a 5k or compete for the sportsmanship award, these things are like business schools: they are about winning the acclaim of people who care, and it is about building the courage to do the hard things, to sit down and negotiate when you have to, to engage in decision-making, to do what we say, and to not let other people fail us. These things are fundamental to how I live my life and to how we operate here, so I try to offer them to everyone at our gym.