Life lessons from the Olympics in Rio

Michael Phelps ignores the competition and focuses on winning
Focusing on the goal, not the competition makes a winner.

Whenever the Olympics come around, I am always amazed by the athletes.  They are masters of their sport, competing with the best in the world.  Every so often, some athletes do more than just win.  They dominate.

The Rio Olympics have presented an impressive number of such of exemplars.  These athletes are at a level way beyond the rest, each possessing certain notable characteristics. I’ve outlined a few key attributes adorning these Olympic champions.

Focus on the goal, not the competition

Michael Phelps might as well have been the only swimmer in the pool. Meanwhile, South African Chad le Clos who prevailed in the London 2012 Olympics, watched as Phelps swam to yet another Gold Victory.  Champions aren’t in it to beat others; they’re in it to beat themselves.  His unwavering drive and focus have earned Michael Phelps the title of the most decorated Olympian in history.

Once you’ve reached your goal, don’t quit.

Kristin Armstrong is a cyclist from Boise, Idaho.  She won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics.  Following her victory, Armstrong retired from competitive cycling to focus on another goal; to become a mother.
When the 2012 Olympics in London came around, she left retirement to win yet another gold medal.  With a double-dose of triumph, she returned home and back into retirement to once again, focus on her raising her young family.


Kristin Armstrong is a 3-time Olympic Gold Medal cyclist

Four years later, and for the third time, Kristin Armstrong returned to the sport she loves.  She won her third gold medal the day before her 43rd birthday in the women’s timed trial cycling event.  Winning did not come easy, either.  In the first part of the race, her nose started to bleed.  Losing ground, she contended with other world-class cyclists who were not easily defeated.  Through her strong will and persistence, she found herself standing on the highest podium listening to her national anthem.


Even if you’re not the biggest, you can be the best.

Simone Biles is a nineteen-year-old world-class gymnast from Texas.  Standing at only 4’8″ tall, she packs a lot of punch!

Biles was adopted by her grandparents at an early age and began gymnastics training when she was 8.   Her professional career started in 2011.  By 2016, she had won first place at three World Championships.

Simone Biles

Simone Biles has won 3 consecutive world championships and is now an Olympic Gold Medalist.

In the Women’s gymnastics team trials, the USA team finished 8 points ahead of any other country in the running.  Largely due to Biles. Her astounding performances are always exceptional, and she is considered by many to be unbeatable.  With a long career ahead of her, she will go on to do many great things.


While the Olympic athletes showcase profound talent, you can apply the principles you see in them to your life.  Whatever your goals are, focus on them and don’t get distracted.  And, when you reach a goal, don’t call it quits there. Revisit it again and again until you’ve mastered every aspect possible.  Become a legend.  And finally,  don’t ever give up.  What might seem an obstacle at first could end up being a source of immense strength.

I hope you’re being as inspired by the Olympic games as I am.  They are one more reason Life is Awesome.


1 Comment

  1. Great read Dan! I was thinking similarly when I’d watch swimmers look over at Phelps or any other swimmers ahead of them.

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