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Olympics Inspiration for the Business World

If you’re looking for motivation to succeed in the business world (and in life), why not take some inspiration from some of the athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics. 

Never give up

Perseverance is what makes us carry on putting in the dedication and effort needed to achieve our goals, and to develop both personally and professionally. Olympians are famous for this quality.

  • Eight years ago, showjumper Laura Collett nearly died after a serious fall from her horse. She had to be resuscitated five times, and lost the sight in one eye. Laura got back in the saddle, kept going and won an Olympic gold medal. 
  • Syrian refugee Yusra-Mardini fled her war-torn home country in 2015, but never let go of her dream to swim at an international level. Now she is a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and Tokyo was her second Olympics.
  • Diver Tom Daley endured bullying at school, his father died when he was just 17 years old and he had disappointments along the way, but he never gave up. After 13 years of trying, he won the gold medal he always dreamed of. 

Turn pressure into performance 

Pressure is often seen as a negative, but top Olympians use it as a driver to help them focus and give their best. The best rise to the occasion, and take our breath away.

  • Charlotte Worthington attempted a 360° backflip in the women’s BMX freestyle event, the first ever by a woman in competition. Under incredible pressure, having fallen in her first run, she landed it. She won a place in history, and the gold. 
  • US gymnast Simone Biles made headlines when she had to withdraw from most of her events due to getting the ‘twisties’. Shaking with nerves, she came back to compete on the beam with the eyes of the world on her. She proved to herself she could overcome her fears, and the bronze medal was a bonus.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Great teamwork is about focusing on and caring about the whole team’s success, not just individual performances. A supportive, positive attitude brings out the best in everyone – in business and in sport. 

  • Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithall were sailing rivals in 2016, until they decided to team up for the Tokyo games. Each brought different and complementary strengths, and together they won the gold. 
  • Swimmer Duncan Scott became the first Briton to win four medals at a single Olympics, inspired by the success of his GB teammates. They are the most successful British swim team in Olympic history and Adam Peaty has put this down to their enviably strong team spirit.
  • When Beth Shriever could not stand after winning her gold medal, due to a build up of lactic acid in her leg muscles, BMX silver medal winner Kye Whyte picked her up and held her high in the air to receive the cheers of the crowd. Kye’s joy for his teammate was as great as it had been for his own success, if not greater. 
  • In a shock result, British Taekwondo favourite Jade Jones was knocked out in the first round. Despite her own disappointment she stood on the side-lines, cheering on her teammates and celebrating their successes.
  • Finally, who can forget the reaction of Aussie swim coach Dean Boxall, when Ariarne Titmus snatched gold in the women’s 400 metre freestyle? In the best teams everyone shares the passion.

We can’t all be Olympians, but we can all take inspiration from their perseverance, nerves of steel and teamwork in our working lives. 


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