Have you ever noticed the expressions of the silver and bronze medal athletes on the podium? Or listened to the interviews that take place shortly after the medal ceremonies? Take for example these amazing athletes, Aussie swimmer Emily Seebohm, who was tipped to be the favourite to win the 100m backstroke and Team GB’s very own men’s gymnastics team — Louis Smith, Max Whitlock, Daniel Purvis, Sam Oldham and Kristian Thomas. When interviewed about the results, Seebohm expressed disappointment in her performance and felt like she had let her fans down. But Team GB’s gymnasts were excited and proud (as they should be) to win the first medal in a century for Great Britain.
As the Olympics continue, I think you’ll see a lot more of this. Whether gold, silver, bronze, or even no medal, I think every athlete should be proud of their accomplishments. Do I even have to spell out how phenomenal each and every single Olympian is? That said, people, especially those in competitive environments tend to compare themselves to others. They don’t quite know how to critique themselves without comparing their performance to others. So from a silver medalist’s perspective, if they had only done better (than the gold medalist) they would have been, well, first. Whereas the bronze medalist is likely thinking that it’s just nice to be on the medal stand and grateful that they made it there. They generally seem happier than the silver medalist who placed higher than them. I reckon this is because the bronze medalist is infinitely happier when they compare themselves to all the others that simply didn’t medal.
We are our own worst critics. The last thing our athletes need is a bunch of knob-head ‘fans’ tweeting or facebooking insults about them letting their country down or whatever other nonsense fan-atics like to spew out from their keyboards. Are you the one that’s under ridiculous amounts of pressure from yourself, coaches, your parents and country? If not, give over!
It’s moments like these when I really hate social media and what the digital age has done to us (and yes oddly enough I’m sat here blogging about it). The way we have been programmed to see ourselves, paired with added reinforcement from social media can be a total recipe for unhappiness. That said, with all the pressures and distractions that these athletes have, I think it might be in their best interest to stay away from social media until each race is over. Because ultimately, no matter what people are buzzing about, they need to stay focused. As Seebohm later stated in an interview, social media was to blame for her ‘loss’ to USA’s Missy Franklin. There might be some truth behind that statement but erm…was she tweeting from the pool?