Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Learning from our athletes

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Jamaicans are on a high after the Olympics, and with good reason.

Beyond creating an opportunity for us to bask in their glory, our athletes' success gives us a chance to revisit the myths and explore the life skills which are part of their incredible story.

While our Olympians are not the first Jamaicans to show that being born and raised in poor circumstances does not hinder someone's potential, they are perhaps the most celebrated to do so.

That they are still young (in their 20s and 30s) helps others in this age range to identify with them.

Yes, the majority of our Olympians come from 'poor' families - poor of the pocket, but clearly not of the mind nor of the spirit. It is the richness of guidance given to a young Usain Bolt in Sherwood Content that has created the champion he is today. We need to focus on the stories of Elaine Thompson of Banana Ground, and others.

Our Olympians have developed their skills in the areas of positive thinking, self-awareness, self-worth, etc. We should spend some time to reflect on this, and see what lessons we can learn from them.

As talented as our Olympians are, they don't 'wing it'. They listen to their advisers and coaches. In spite of their youth, their talent, their success, they follow what they are told to do, not just on the global scene, but during their months and years of training.

There is much we can learn from these athletes, if we pay attention. As Aristotle said: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Gillian Glean-Walker