The following entry won the contest and was the winner of a $300 Revolution Voucher!
Going for Broke: My 2014 Sochi Olympic Moment
by Daniel Theriault
Bilodeau’s gold medal run at these most recent Olympic Games is not only my personal Olympic moment, but also the epitome of Olympic competition. Alexandre Bilodeau, now a two time Olympic gold medalist was able to succeed for a variety of reasons. The first being his courage and confidence, and the second being his mental tenacity and fortitude.
Bilodeau could have easily let his previous run (a run where he barely qualified for the final) eat away at his concentration and confidence. He found himself in a less than favorable situation. He could have easily given up and claimed that it simply wasn’t his day. It’s incredibly difficult to really try your hardest, when the possibility that your best may not be good enough. A lot of men are afraid of success and the responsibility and self-awareness that it entails. This is extremely relevant in the field of sports; success is rarely doled out to those who compete out of fear. Plato, one of, if not the most highly regarded philosophers of antiquity resumes this perfectly with this quotation: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
This superb athlete does not give himself up to the unfortunate tug of self-doubt and fear. Instead he decides it’s time to put everything on the line, he is set on going for broke. “I went for the first place or the sixth place. It was all or nothing. And it went through. It was the best run of my career.” It was this excerpt, told in an impeccably comic French Canadian accent (his poor grammar and awkward pauses revealing itself in all its glory), that resonated very deeply with me. I found that I could easily identify with this heartening message. After all, it was not so long ago that I had faced a similar situation and managed to salvage one of my better performances of my life.
Finally I found myself in the position to qualify for nationals, somewhere I had never been before. My preliminaries were rather shaky and I fell short of qualifying. I missed some of my simpler dives and balked on a hurdle, something I had not done previously in competition. Instead of viewing this event as a loss, I decided to stay positive and look on the bright side of things. I knew that this performance was not an indication of what I was truly capable of, and still I lay a dozen points away from the qualifying score. That balk on front three and a half was a symbol of my mindset during the preliminary; I was nervous and thinking of the wrong things. I had put it into my head that I needed every dive to be perfect. That hurdle on 107c was most certainly not perfect, because of my unhealthy mindset, I held back and balked. This act of cowardice, completely understandable and human, but nonetheless something one needs to overpower to succeed, cost me my first chance at qualifying.
Fortunately I had a second chance, like Alexandre Bilodeau, and I was able to capitalize on this opportunity. I was able to take one positive away from my preliminary and put the rest of it behind me. I decided to dive with no reservations, because of how close I was to my first ever qualification. The dives I had done well in my preliminaries were repeated quite well, and the dives I had missed, I improved on. I qualified for the first time, in my first competition of the year. The odds were stacked against me, and I had put an enormous pressure on myself. I dove for myself and knew that if I gave my most valiant effort and failed, I would still be able to forgive myself in due time. My goal finally accomplished a wave of joy, relief and disbelief washed over me. With no regard for any of the other divers currently practicing, I yelled at the top of my lungs “I qualified, I qualified!” over and over again. I had been rewarded for my trust in myself and my coaches. I decided to do as Bilodeau did and “go all or nothing” on not one but all my dives in that final.
And so, when I was half asleep on my couch after an exceptionally long and arduous day of diving and school, I was jerked completely awake by this powerful message, delivered by Bilodeau minutes after his Olympic run; still wide eyed and panting. In those eyes I saw a man who had put in more work than I could ever imagine, and was finally paid his dividend. I also remarked a beautiful elation filled with relief on his face, one that indicated he gave it all he could, ultimately a look absent of regret. And even though my victory was but a small building block in the grand scheme of things for this season; I have a hunch I may have had a similar look in my eyes after that 3 meter event, when I learned that all that hard work had finally paid off.
Daniel trains at the 2013 Provincial Team Training Camp in Varadero, Cuba.
Thanks to his national qualifying performance at the 2014 Polar Bear Classic,
he will be returning to Cuba for another trianing camp in April 2014!