Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 11th 2015 Contents A33
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Last Thursday, August 5, marked exactly
one year until the beginning of the Games
of the 31st Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil. For a few minutes the media s atten-
tion was focused on the athletes.
National pride swelled as past glory was
remembered and the future was looked to
with hopeful anticipation. And then it was
quickly on to other news.
For that brief interlude between the bad
news, our hard-working athletes from
numerous other sports besides the popular
games of cricket and football basked the
rare attention, hopeful that it would help
in their plight of financial support.
Our unsung heroes did their best to
smile for the cameras as they dodged awk-
ward interview questions about whether
they would bring home the gold, and
instead patiently tried to enlighten the
public about their sport and their plans
for the remaining 365 days. All the while,
I could recognise it on their faces. They
couldn t hide it from me. They
They were cynical because all of them
acknowledged the truth that the Olympics
wasn t every four years. For them, the ath-
letes, the Olympics is every day. It is today
and not in 365 days.
Each day of preparation is as equally
important as the race day. All aspiring
Olympians are keenly aware that every
decision they make every day in every
minute of every hour, is either bringing
them closer to realising their Olympic
dreams or pushing them further away.
They recognise that the stakes are astronomically
high. With each Olympiad being only once every
four years, life doesn t afford many opportunities
to participate, and there are no second chances.
Reminders of the high stakes in this zero-sum
game are all too familiar.
Every aspiring Olympian is aware that for every
one who simply qualifies, far fewer attain sporting
who try, fail and some who go on to live the rest
of their lives with regret.
From the perspective of the television commen-
tators, the journalists and everyone else watching
from the sidelines, there is the overused notion of
the "four-year plan." However, for those aspiring
Olympians who dare to dream, and subject them-
selves to the single-mindedness of preparation,
who dare to make
the sacrifices, to
take on the debt, to
to risk it all, there
is no four-year plan.
They will all scoff
at the notion and
tell you that life
happens over the
four years between
It is this time
when things become
will all attest to the
truth that simply
keeping the dream
alive despite the unexpected pitfalls that await on
their life s journey during the years between the
They struggle to keep motivated when they and
their sport are forgotten, and is often the most
difficult challenge they have ever faced. For them,
an Olympic medal, more than anything else, is a
tangible embodiment of resilience.
When it comes to the Olympic dream, the des-
tination can easily consume the vitality of the jour-
ney. When this happens one is always deeply afraid
that if the end doesn t justify the means, and they
don t achieve their goals, they would have wasted
When the delusional destination has consumed
the journey, recognition of failure and surrendering
the dream can be fate mercifully encouraging them
to move on with life. In this way failure is saving
some from a metaphorical shot of heroin that would
go on to destroy their lives had they continued the
struggle to keep the dream alive at all costs despite
However, years later, they will look back and
recognise in hindsight that they weren t doing it,
but that it was doing them. They will come to the
profound understanding that regardless of success
or failure in their Olympic endeavour, it was the
dream and the journey that gave them life in the
form of experiences, and that the destination was
only there to make the sweet struggle possible.
So, in 359 days when you see those same hopeful
Olympians again on TV, hopefully you too will
understand that it s not every four years, but every
In doing so, you would be able to vicariously
celebrate their daily struggle for excellence and the
resilience of their dreams even if you are compla-
cently drifting through life with no destination.
• Tweet George at @georgebovell and he
might just tweet you back.
It's not every four years
Our unsung heroes
did their best to
smile for the
cameras as they
about whether they
would bring home
the gold, and instead
patiently tried to
enlighten the public
about their sport and
their plans for the
remaining 365 days.
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