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Message to the Sporting World – Do it your own way!

After the CLOSING ceremony of every Olympic Games, someone should yell out, “let the (real) Games begin”.

The real “GAMES”…………the junkets and fact finding missions the Sporting leaders from most countries embark on to find out what the USA, Germany, Great Britain, South Korea, China and Australia are doing to be successful in the Olympics.

The logic seems simple enough.

“Our country didn’t win any medals at the Olympics” says the Minister for Sport.

“Country XYZ won lots of medals at the Olympics”, says the CEO of the Sports Commission.

“Therefore if we want medals and we copy them we will win medals”, thinks everyone in the room.

“Hooray!!!! Problem solved – let’s buy some air tickets”.

Seems like common sense……but it’s a total waste!

  • Waste of time.
  • Waste of money.
  • Waste of energy.

If the past has taught us one thing it is that high performance systems, structures and models do not work outside of the culture that created them.

But….after every Olympics…..before the final crack and pop of the last firework at the closing ceremony, you can hear the engines of the jets firing up.

You can hear the sound of Frequent Flyer cards and Hotel Rewards systems Gold Member Cards emerging from wallets.

It’s the POST OLYMPIC sporting junket season!! Yahoo! High Performance Holidays!

The heads of Government sporting administrations, the Managers of Academies and Institutes of Sport and the CEOs of sporting federations of unsuccessful Olympic nations are all booking business class airfares to the leading sporting nations faster Bolt ran the 100 metres in Beijing.

And they are all hunting the same thing – changes, innovations, ideas and systems which will create success at “home”.

And, without exception they are wasting their time, money and energy.

  1. Firstly, if you were heading a successful Olympic nation – why would you share your secrets with another nation, i.e. potential competitor? You might tell them what you did in the past – but certainly not what you plan to do in the future.
  2. Second, as it is usually administrators and management who do these junkets, they generally lack the technical knowledge and sports specific understanding to make significant, meaningful, relevant changes to the high performance systems of their own country.
  3. Thirdly – and most importantly – you can not copy a sporting system from another country and make it work in your own. Again, you can not copy a sporting system from another country and make it work in your own. And one more time – you can not copy a sporting system from another country and make it work in your own.

Do it your own way.

  • Tap into the expertise, passion, drive, enthusiasm, knowledge and skills that exist in every nation.
  • Support them appropriately.
  • Create (and sustain) a national, integrated athlete development pathway from Child to Champion and align your coaching and performance enhancement programs to support the athlete pathway.
  • Be patient – don’t look instant gratification. It takes ten years at least to create excellence in high performance sport.
  • And be persistent – you will succeed.

Wayne Goldsmith


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