Olympics Journal >>
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A few final images and impressions from the Olympics that embody the ideals PCA strives to cultivate in coaches,parents and athletes:
- Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia fielding women's teams for the first time
- Manteo Mitchell limping through his portion of the 4x400-meter relay on a broken leg fast enough to help the U.S. team to a silver medal
- Polish windsurfer Zofia Noceti-Klepacka committing to auction her bronze medal so she can help pay for medical treatment for a five-year-old neighbor who suffers from cystic fibrosis
- The sports parent personae of Debbie Phelps, mother of the most-medaled Olympian in history, Michael Phelps; Natalie Hawkins (who famously and painfully parted with her daughter, Gymnastics All-Around Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, to let her get the best coaching available), and Rick and Lynn Raisman performing some chair gymnastics while cheering on their daughter Aly to her gold medals
- Grenada's Kirani James winning his heat in the 400 meters, then honoring an opponent, South African double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, by offering to exchange race bibs.
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to require the nation's public schools to provide competitive sports as part of their curriculum, saying, "We need to end the 'all must have prizes' culture and get children playing and enjoying competitive sports from a young age, linking them up with sports clubs so they can pursue their dreams."
What if the U.S. took such an approach? Share your thoughts on Facebook.
The gold medal for the U.S.Women's Water Polo team was particularly sweet because of PCA's national partnership with USA Water Polo. Coaches, athletes and fans alike got the PCA message from these banners at USA Water Polo's recent Junior Olympics.
Kudos to Carli Lloyd and Pia Sundhage for their roles in securing a third straight gold medal for the U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer Team. Lloyd, in the style of a Triple-Impact Competitor®, bounced back from her benching earlier in the tournament. She rededicated herself to "proving the doubters wrong," as she said in her post-match interview, and kept herself ready for the moments when she could shine.
Meanwhile, in the run-up to the gold medal match against Japan, Coach Sundhage minimized talk of "redemption" from the U.S.'s heartbreaking loss to Japan in the 2011 World Cup final. Youth sports coaches will do well to follow Sundhage's example. Players face enough pressure from themselves, friends, family and fans without coaches asking them to "redeem" themselves.
Bouncing back from two previous Olympiad's worth of disappointment, Allyson Felix achieved her dream, winning her first individual Olympic gold medal. Asked after the race what lessons she might teach from her Olympic experience if she reaches her next dream of following in her mother's footsteps as an elementary school teacher, Felix said: "It's been a long journey — never easy — but you can't lose sight of your dream."
With women's gymnastics wrapping up and women's basketball heating up, watch PCA National Advisory Board Member Jennifer Azzi explain how watching Olympic gymnastics inspired her own journey to a basketball gold medal.
Last week's Sports Illustrated on Megan Rapinoe, whose two goals helped key today's thrilling U.S. Women's Soccer win: "The key to her creativity, she says, was playing under Danny Cruz, her club coach at age 13 with Elk Grove United in Sacramento.
" 'I don't think he ever really told me how to play,' Rapinoe said. 'He was really good about letting us make mistakes and play free. That was cool. There are a lot of really bad coaches in the U.S. who maybe don't focus on the right things. Sometimes creativity is stamped out at a young age.' "
New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan may not be the model Double-Goal Coach®, but he deserves credit for encouraging Jets center Nick Mangold to leave training camp to watch his sister, Holley Mangold, compete in Olympic weightlifting.
Youth sports coaches can use this as a reminder that life events sometimes trump practice plans. Coaches who take that approach do right by their athletes and often are more than re-paid in performance by players who are grateful for the break and whose minds are clear after attending to their own higher priorities.
Highlight: Missy Franklin winning her fourth gold medal, continuing to bring pride and healing to her hometown of Aurora, CO...continuing to transcend sport.
In contrast to our post for August 2, today's tennis match between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro exemplified the Olympic ideal. Fierce-yet-friendly, the two competed a record length of time, and may have set another record for length and sincerity of their post-match embrace. This was everything we tune in for.
The Olympic motto "Citius, Altius, Fortius" (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is taking a beating in these Games. Days after the badminton tanking scandal comes this report of cyclist Philip Hindes crashing intentionally after a poor start, forcing a restart.
Although cleared of wrongdoing within the letter of the rules of cycling, it seems Hindes showed more gamesmanship than sportsmanship. Does pushing the rules to their limits strike at the heart of the Olympic spirit?
Highlight: Diving commentary by PCA National Advisory Board Member Ted Robinson (here serving as Master of Ceremonies for PCA's National Youth Sports Awards Dinner and Auction Sponsored by Deloitte) and soccer commentary by PCA-Colorado Board Member and former World Cup star Marcelo Balboa.
Highlight: The U.S. women's gymnastics team holding together to win the gold medal. The emotional intensity of Monday's individual competition that eliminated world champion Jordyn Wieber could have destroyed this team. Instead, by all appearances, the "Fab Five" supported each other through every twist, turn and tumble.
“I just kind of stayed in my little bubble and got refocused and everything was fine the next day,” said Wieber in this Boston Globe article.
Lowlight: Four badminton teams tanking so obviously, in pursuit of a favorable draw, that the Badminton World Federation kicked the players out of the competition.
Lowlight: Hope Solo's Twitter attack on Brandi Chastain. Highlight: Chastain and her fellow PCA National Advisory Board Member Julie Foudy taking the high road.
Part of Honoring the Game includes helping teammates keep the focus where it belongs. Solo's current complaints, like her outburst against her teammate and coach that resulted in her removal from the 2007 World Cup team, are distractions.
Contrast that with the behavior of Abby Wambach, who endured a swat to the eye with great dignity and helped maintain her team's focus on the task at hand.
Highlight: A hat trick in the U.S. water polo victory over Montenegro for Peter Varellas (far left), who served on a panel discussion for Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship candidates, along with Olympic rower David Banks and Olympic swimming trialist Bobbie Bollier this spring.
Highlight: TV commentary on basketball and soccer, respectively, by PCA National Advisory Board Members Doc Rivers and Brandi Chastain.