“I could feel the gold around me.” That was the comment from Lolo Jones right after she finished 7th in the final of the 100m Hurdles in the Beijing Olympics.
Lolo was winning by a huge margin as she approached the 9th (next to last) hurdle. For whatever reason, her lead foot struck the hurdle causing her to lose her balance and, more importantly, her momentum. She struggled to keep going, cleared the final hurdle, crossed the finish line and collapsed on the tack in total shock and dismay.
She was so close to wining the gold. She could see it, taste it, feel it. But she didn’t get it.
So what can we learn from Lolo? How can we find anything good from this athletic disaster?
After her devastating loss, Lolo took time to be interviewed by NBC trackside reporter Bob Neumeier. She smiled as she explained what happened, She mentioned that she usually hits two hurdles a year and how crazy it was that this happened in what she termed “the most important race of my life.” She mentioned how proud she was of her team mate, Dawn Harper who won the race, and how proud she was to represent America. Was she just putting on a good face for the camera? Was she just feigning athletic pride and sportsmanship? Was she just trying not to cry on world wide TV? Maybe. But I think there is more to it than that.
Lolo showed us the importance of facing the obstacles in life and still finishing the race. She showed us how to keep going even when it’s tough. She showed us how to never quit, learn from your mistakes, take on the hurdles that life throws in your path and keep your eyes on the prize.
Did she get the gold, No. Did she just smile and keep going? No. She disappeared under the stadium and cried alone. Did she set any kind of record or secure a spot in the Olympic history books? No. But, she finished the race. She gave her all. She did not make excuses. She did not blame anyone else. She simply expressed her disappointment, congratulated her team mate, and moved on.
Way to go Lolo. I hate that you did not win. But I am proud of you for handling defeat with such grace. May we all handle the disappointments of life so well.