Olympics Reflection #1: The 100m Final is Won Between the Ears 🧠

In an attempt to keep the flame burning 🔥  just a little bit longer, I’m going to write about a number of big Olympics moments and how they relate to mental skills. Let’s start with one of the blue riband track events, the 100m sprint.

Leading into the Olympics with no Usain Bolt (who won gold in Rio, London and Beijing) the 100m title was wide open.

With American Justin Gatlin also out of the running, Trayvon Brumell was one of the favourites clocking the year’s fastest time of 9.77 seconds in June. But he didn’t even make the final, squeezed out of second place in the semis by a millisecond. Yo Han Blake, former world champion with a PB of 9.69 secs, also failed to qualify for the final.

Chinese athlete Su Bingtian ran 9.83 secs in the semi-finals to qualify fastest and for a few hours before the 100m final in Tokyo, the fastest person on the planet was a 5ft 8in Chinese athlete who is about to turn 32. The moment was all too much for Su however, clocking 9.98 in the final to finish last.

Italian Marcell Jacobs won the Olympic 100m final in 9.80 secs. Fred Kerley taking silver in 9.84 and Andre De Grasse bronze in 9.89.

Up until 2020 the Italian, who was also part of the winning 4x100m relay team for a stunning sprint double, hadn’t broken the 10 second barrier. Talking to News Ltd Jacobs commented

I crafted a really good team to support me. I really work hard with my mind. Because when I was arriving at the big moment my legs don’t work too good. Now my legs go really good when it’s a big moment.

The Takeout?

Several athletes had posted amazing times and if they showed up, were in the running for gold.

Blake showed up a few years ago.

Brumell showed up in June.

Su showed up in the semi-final.

But Jacobs showed up when it truly counted. After the final Kerley said “I know nothing about him. I raced him once in Monaco.” He certainly knows who he is now!

To run sub 10 seconds you need a few things in your favour. First is winning the genetic lottery with an abundance of explosive fast twitch fibres to sprint 37km/hr over the distance; second is the ability to push through gruelling sessions, injuries, and the ups and downs of being an elite athlete; third, is how you train your mind to stay calm and show up on the day.

Jacobs identified he needed to train to ‘keep his mind together so his legs work in the big moments.’ Just like training your body to be fit, fast, flexible and strong; you can do exactly the same for the mind.

Very few of us are ever going to run the 100m final at the Olympics. But we all have big moments every year in our personal and professional lives where we need to show up. If you’d like to ‘craft a really good team to support’ you or your entire organisation to show up when it counts, check out https://lnkd.in/eUqMTPm

#olympics #psychology #mentalskills

I’m curious, how do you currently train your mind to show up in big moments?

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