The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 473

The great sports announcer Jim McKay coined the phrase, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” The winter Olympics opened on February 4 in Beijing with subdued fanfare, reduced spectators but with a surplus of unprecedented caution for the health and safety of the participants and all involved. Positive Covid tests immediately sidelined dozens of athletes, after years of regimented and tortuous practice, quashing dreams of ever rising to the top of the podium to receive an Olympic medal.

I can only imagine the untold hours and years of practice that each athlete spent just to qualify for a position on the team. What immeasurable amount of discipline did it require to finally reach this moment? Many projected to win, top contenders, failed and were disqualified in the opening days. Others, surprised us all, including themselves, with record breaking scores, never seen before.

American Olympic men’s skater, Nathan Chen, stood firm on the Olympic ice and delivered a dazzling performance in the men’s short program inside the Capital Indoor Stadium, skating into first place with a world record score of 113.97, while the heavily favored and reigning two-time Olympic champion Hanyu Yuzuru of Japan, popped a quadruple jump and landed in 8th place after the short program.

We plan, we hope, we strive, and sadly, often the thrill of victory is just beyond our reach, due to a tiny error, a miscalculation or circumstance beyond our control.

In any area of your business, one misstep can lead to a disastrous result even after all the careful prep work and implementation. But we can always remain a winner. What we can do is learn from the defeat, improve our skills, work with our mentors, and come back refreshed, renewed and raring to go.

An Olympic medal may not be in our future, but we can all be winners in our field and experience the thrill of victory every day.

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