If you followed the Olympics at all these past few weeks, you must have heard of the two distance runners, Hamblin of New Zealand and D’Agostino of the USA. Here is the low down: Hamblin got tripped up on another athlete’s feet and fell. This fall took D’Agostino out as well. D’Agostino fell hard and you can see she really did a number on her knee. D’Agostino immediately got up and told Hamblin to get up, they must finish. They both started off again and D’Agostino was visibly injured, her knee was completely unstable and she fell again. Hamblin this time helped her up. Please keep in mind this was in the middle-ish of the 5000m race or approximately 3 miles. At some point Hamblin and D’Agostino separated. Hamblin says she turned around after she finally crossed the line to see D’Agostino still plugging along, ultimately finishing the race. Hamblin herself said she was amazed D’Agostino was able to finish. D’Agostino ran 4.5 laps around the track on a torn ACL and meniscus. If you have every torn anything in your knee, you know how impressive that is.
Obviously, the sportsmanship is awesome and all warm and fuzzy. I am more interested in the mental toughness this young woman displayed by finishing the race and the importance of her effort no matter the outcome. She was more than two mins off her best time, she didn’t medal in the race, she didn’t come home an Olympic champion. But her effort was important and meaningful. Not only meaningful to her and Hamblin, but to all of us watching. How many times do we measure our success by winning/losing, the time on the clock, the weight on the bar, etc? Our best effort is important, finishing what we start is important, being good to ourselves and others is important. The measure of our success can be found in so much more than these numbers. Look for your successes in the effort.