To achieve excellence, we sometimes we need a game change. Dick Fosbury inspires us to innovate and turn a flop into success!
Today’s topic is leading with excellence. The Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics is a great spectacle of human endeavour. Over 10,000 athletes—Olympians—from around the world train for four years to have the opportunity to represent their nation.
I wonder what they have in store for us. I get excited about track and field and look forward to seeing some record breakers!
During the London 2012 Olympics, 104 Olympic records and 38 world records were broken. At Rio 2016, athletes set 91 Olympic records and 27 world records. What’s more, many athletes excelled in their chosen sport and smashed their personal bests. This is excellence in action!
To celebrate the Summer Olympics, I'm taking a look at the Olympic values and examine their relevance in leadership.
Did you know the Olympic values are:
- Striving for excellence,
- Demonstrating respect, and
- Celebrating friendship?
Do you think these have anything to do with leadership? Well, let’s consider the first value: striving for excellence.
Striving for Excellence
“Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, higher, stronger. That’s the Olympic motto. Encouraging effort is about aiming for excellence, and this means always doing and giving one’s best.
This reminds me of the story about a little-known athlete who transformed the high jump in the late 1960s. His name was Dick Fosbury, and he thought and acted differently. He aimed high and achieved excellence!
The Fosbury Flop
Until the Mexico Olympics of 1968 the Olympic record for the high jump was 2.06 m (6’ 9⅛”).
In 1968 Dick Fosbury smashed this record. He achieved a massive 2.24 m (7’ 4¼”) by thinking and jumping differently. He innovated.
Before Fosbury, the customary way for a high jumper to cross the bar was to place their body parallel to it. This was known as the Western Roll.