Published On: Thu, Aug 11th, 2016

ON THE SIDELINES: Winners focus on winning





Michael Phelps cruised to his 20th Olympic Gold Medal on Tuesday, Aug. 9 with a win in the 200M Butterfly event.  Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history and has done that by focusing on himself, not necessarily his competition.

Chad le Clos took fourth in that race Tuesday, a race he won the gold medal in at the 2012 London Games by narrowly edging out Phelps.  Last year, le Clos made some comments, after winning the 100M Butterfly race at the World Championships, which angered many.  But, most importantly, it angered Phelps.

“Michael Phelps has been talking about how slow the butterfly events have been recently,” le Clos was quoted as saying.  “I just did a time he hasn’t done in four years.  So, he can keep quiet now.”

In doing so le Clos not only poked the bear; he rolled the bear over and kicked it.  Why would anyone do that?

Following Tuesday’s race, a photograph surfaced and made the rounds on the internet showing Phelps (in front by the way) with his head forward and his eyes on the prize.  Le Clos was seen looking over at Phelps almost fixated on him.

As the photo made its way around cyberspace, a quote was added to the meme which states, “Winners focus on winning.  Losers focus on the winners.”

I searched and searched to try to find the origin of that quote, and every time I found it there was no attribution or it was simply listed as “unknown”.

But, that quote rings true for all athletes…or, at least it should.

Concentrate on what you’re doing.  Concentrate on executing your game plan and your strategy.  Don’t worry about your opponent.  With any luck, they’ll be concentrating on you and the tide will change.

In sports and in general, I’ve never had any use for trash talk.  What’s the point?  It’s not going to elevate your game, and it’s only going to provide your opponent with that proverbial “locker room fodder” that many teams thrive off of.

Tony Dorsett, Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back, once said, “To succeed…you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.”

I completely agree…but, why give that to your opponents in the form of trash talk?

In my opinion, we should all just keep our mouths shut, our heads pointed forward, and keep on swimming.