We live for the big events. Last week it was the Super Bowl and the surprising performance of Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles to upset the elite Tom Brady and the Patriots. This week we turn our attention to the 2018 Olympics opening in South Korea. What great feats will we see? What disruptive action will be taken?
A legacy is a gift given to those that come later. I work with leaders to think bigger and reach higher and one of the ways is writing their legacy story. As I prepare for the games, I’m looking for those stories that will resonate for years to come. In the process, several questions emerge.
What stories will become the legacy of this Olympics?
Will they come from the field of play or the political game behind the scenes? Will those stories be about the athletic accomplishment or personal stories of courage, challenge, and perseverance? Will the stories be more about the weather, facilities or the political context?
This Olympics introduces four new sports:
- Alpine team competition, in which 16 countries square off in a mixed-gender slalom tournament;
- big-air snowboarding (boarders ascend to the top of a tower, then fly off a 160-ft. ramp);
- mixed doubles curling, which features two curlers—a man and a woman—on a squad rather than the usual four;
- mass-start speedskating.
New Nations Competing
Will the legacy story be that six new nations compete? What stories will be remembered as Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Singapore send athletes for the first time? It is always disruptive when someone does something for the first time.
Great Athlete Performances
Will we most remember the athlete’s stories? Decades later we still remember the legendary eats of Jessee Owens, Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Usain Bolt. Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz. We also remember Shawn White bravely taking a run on the course after already securing his gold medal. We remember the perseverance of Dan Jansen, tragically falling and fighting through personal tragedy to win his gold in speed skating. We remember Dorothy Hamill‘s breakthrough performance along with Michelle Kwan and Tera Lipinski. Do we even want to mention Tanya Harding?
Behind the Scenes Stories
We also remember the fantastic journey of the Jamaican Bobsled team and the awkward determination of Eddy the Eagle. Will it be the 45-year-old German speed skater, Claudia Pechstein? or the youngest U.S. Olympian, figure skater Vincent Zhou, 17?
Then there were the political stories of the Black Power protest of 1968 and the boycotts of 1980 and 1984. We wish we could forget the hostage tragedy of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. How will politics play a part this year? Will it be the unification of South Korea? or will it be the ban of some Russian athletes?
Several of these epic stories have been made into movies. What movies would you want to watch from this years Olympics?
- Miracle: The 1980 U.S. upset of the USSR in hockey.
- Chariots of Fire: Eric Liddle refuses to run on Sunday because of his Christian faith.
- Munich: The massacre of Israeli athletes
- Cool Runnings: The journey of the Jamaican Bobsled Team.
As you watch over the next couple of weeks, listen for the stories that will have an impact years later. But then I want you to ask yourself something. How will these stories impact others?
- How will their story inspire current athletes to work harder and to persevere?
- How will they inspire young children to start a new sport?
- How will it inspire the rest of us to think bigger and reach higher?
Loren Murfield, Ph.D. I help clients think bigger and reach higher to create legacy stories that change the lives of those who follow. In the process, I often help them put those stories into a book. What great things do you aspire to do? What great things have you already done that need to be in a book?
Contact me today to create and tell your legacy story.