“If you want to compete in the Olympics, choose your parents wisely” – Author Unknown
That saying is often mentioned in the discussion of how important genetics are in elite sports, and indeed, there is some merit in it. There is no denying Usain Bolt, as a 6’5’’ hundred meter sprinter and Michael Phelps with his disproportional frame that seems engineered for swimming are genetic anomalies that make them appear destined for greatness in their respective sports.
However, as one watches the Olympics unfold, and see great athletes excel at any sport, everyone knows that what truly separates the best from the rest is not just their family line, but the work they’ve done. You quickly realize that those men running the
100 meter race in under 10 seconds have ran that distance thousands upon thousands of times. As individuals with ease and apparent effortlessness hoist weights more than twice that of their own body over their head, one can only imagine how many times they have completed that exact motion in the years leading up to their competition. With every race that is completed, medal that is hung, and game that is won, the message that is delivered loud and clear is that hard work works. The hours upon hours of practice, late nights, careful eating and life poured out for a single goal have all come together and produced some of the best athletes alive. As the best in the world gather together in their own sports, nowhere is the message sent that the easy way out is the right way out, or that laziness is the path to success. Instead, goals have been set, and then action has been taken. Hard, deliberate, painstaking action with a determination to succeed.
The Olympic Games serve as a demonstration of what happens when individuals take the “nature” they’ve been given, and “nurture” it with all the effort they have in them. While the nature vs. nurture debate will always remain alive and well, we are all beyond the point of picking our parents to improve our genetic profile. However, none of us are beyond the point where we are able to work hard to maximize the potential we have. The easy way out is not the right way, nor is laziness going to allow us to reach our goals. In fitness, nutrition, health or life, let us take the lead of these Olympians who demonstrate so clearly that hard work works, so start getting to work!
Pt. 2 to follow.