3 Lessons of the Olympian Life

Nodar KumaritashviliI abhor the phrase “At least he died doing something he loved.” It’s among the many platitudes that turn my stomach at funerals. In the case of young Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, though, it is an appropriate statement.

Push aside the shock and sadness of this terrible event. Few, if any, could argue that 21 is anything other than “too soon” for a life to end. Further, though the inherent dangers of luge are many, death on the track is impermissible. We’ll ignore questions about the safety of the track, implications Canadians limited other teams training for a competitive advantage and outrage over the decision to name athlete error as the cause to focus on the things that make all Olympic athletes–simply by making it to the Games themselves–a success.

1. Figure Out A Dream
In order do do anything, a goal is necessary. You must have something to push your energies toward or you are simply drifting through life. Why get out of bed without consciously setting a target?

2. Put In Daily Work
Once you have something in mind, it’s time to buckle down and put your efforts toward it. Avoid the mistake of thinking you must leap from where you are to where you’re going. Olympians train years to even sniff an opportunity to participate in the quadrennial event. Listening to your national anthem from the top of medal stand as your country’s flag is pulled to the rafters is a thousand mile-road covered inches at a time. Millions of little steps cover great distances with a higher success rate than an Evel Knievel-style jump.

3. Manage Your Fear
You will face many challenges along the way. There will be mornings you’d rather stay in bed or painful injuries (physical or emotional) to heal. The only way to overcome these setbacks is to accept them, realize the unknown is inextricably linked to change and boldly tell the world “I will either win or die.”

Upon learning a family friend, one of my “other grandpas,” passed this morning. A question came to mind: How much does death teach us about a person?

A visibly shaken IOC President Jacques Rogge, at the press conference before the Opening Ceremonies, eulogized Kumaritashvili: “Here you have a young athlete who lost his life pursuing is passion.”

What would you do to be remembered that way?

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1 Response to “3 Lessons of the Olympian Life”



  1. 1 2 Words Provide Perspective On Change « MeBuilding Trackback on February 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
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