Olympic Gold – was it worth it?

Posted by on Aug 14, 2012 in Blogging, Social Media Strategy | 2 Comments
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I’ve just helped a client write a blog about the importance of having a clear goal and a plan and coach to get you there. If anything proves this, it’s the success of Team GB in the London 2012 Olympics.

I’ve been so inspired by the stories and achievements of the athletes – but there’s a little voice nagging me. Was it worth it?

Four years’ work for a few days’ glory.

Then it’s back to the gym and the fight for funding.

If I’ve learned anything by starting a business and having a baby all within a couple of years, it’s the importance of balance.

I deeply admire people with focus and tenacity – but to the exclusion of all else?

It was a throwaway joke by Greg Searle, who won a bronze in the rowing men’s 8 at the age of 40, that first made me wonder about this. He told Gary Linker he hadn’t taken the bins out for four years. It stuck in my mind. So who had? His wife? What else had she done over those four years so that he could pursue his dream?

Then there was the recurring theme of relief. Victoria Pendleton won a gold and a silver – an amazing achievement – but all she could say was “I’m so relieved it’s all over”. Why? Was it the pressure of the home crowd or the dedication to training required?

An Olympic gold is a unique kind of goal. It isn’t like planning the success of a business or planning a solution to a personal crisis. It’s an all-or-nothing, the-world-is-watching, push-your-body-and-mind-beyond-its-limits kind of goal.

I can’t help but feel it is a gamble. There’s no alternative. What if you get injured? What if you fall short? Did Rebecca Adlington sound defensive when she won her bronze after the glory of Beijing? During her poolside interview she insisted any medal at all was an achievement – and I agree wholeheartedly. So why was she so aggressive about it?

I know a lot of people will disagree with me. It feels very disloyal to Team GB to even ask the question ‘Was it worth it?’. Life is a competition and we should all try to win it – but I think it’s worth evaluating the sacrifices required along the way. What do you think?




  1. Heather Alexander
    August 17, 2012

    I think it is always worth asking "is it worth it?" and its related question "what – in the end – is important to me?". That's why I eventually left a well-paid job in the corporate world – it wasn't worth the stress, aggravation & near-zero "life"element in my work-life balance. And the relief when I did finally leave was akin to that expressed by Victoria Pendleton!

    • Ronnie Reffin
      August 17, 2012

      I can certainly relate to that Heather! And the minute the stress levels get too bad in my current job I will be looking to move again 🙂


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