Dear Emily and James,
It seems like you’ve been having a rough time at the swimming over in London at the Olympics. If you act confidently before a race, you’re seen to be arrogant and if you’re filled with regret after one of your performances you’re either a cry baby, bad sport, ‘mis-firing’ or disappointing the nation.
Let me be clear – sometimes dealing with the media as an athlete is harder than participating in your actual race! As a crusty forty two year old who is old enough to be your mother, I have to admit to thinking about you both as children, even though you’ve had to grow up so fast in the public gaze. I want to applaud the effort you’ve put into your preparation (as well as applaud my fellow swimming mothers for getting up at 4.30am to take you to training) and the fact that you have made it to the pinnacle of sport, The Olympic Games!
I want to tell you a little about my life experience – how I’ve always tried to make ‘plans’, yet God has laughed at me. Yet I’ve tasted success at the most unexpected moments. Typically, these have happened when I’m ‘running my own race’ and turning my blinkers on, so that I’m not looking sideways at what my colleagues are doing. Thus, for these Olympic Games, don’t make any more plans – just go and run your own race! As a Mum, I know what effort you’ve put in and as an Australian, I saw how you have deservedly earned your stripes in our qualifying championships – and thus you have done ‘enough’ in my eyes. Competition is always markedly different from the practice run. What I learned from my stint in bodybuilding is that when you least expect it, someone turns up on the day who is better than you – and when they don’t, it’s a bonus. At one of my comps I presented my best condition ever and came last – but I rest easy at night knowing that I did everything within my power to prepare and to win but it wasn’t to be.
Therefore, I hope that for your next races you have fun feeling the need for speed. Win, place, or participate – I’m with you all the way..and I’m proud of you!
A Sports Mad Mum
PS – Do you think our athletes have been putting too much pressure on themselves to win?