Lessons from Cross Country Skiing Olympians

Cross Country skiing
In 2010, Roberto Carcelen became Peru’s first ever winter Olympian. He finished next to last in his cross country skiing race four years ago, but still continued to work hard so that he could represent Peru again at the games in Sochi going on now.

Carcelen competed this week in Sochi but he finished last in his race.  In the 15k cross country skiing event, Carcelen was so bad that he finished nearly 30 minutes behind the gold medal winner, Dario Cologna of Switzerland. But when Roberto Carcelen crossed the finish line, he was carrying the Peruvian flag and gold medal winner Cologna, and other skiers, were there to greet him.

Roberto Carcelen is quite a story. He first tried skiing at the age of 34, competed in the Olympics in Vancouver at age 39, and then was back competing this week at age 43. Carcelen was excited to be in the Olympics again; but just a few weeks ago, he injured his ribs while training and doctors informed him he would not be able to compete at Sochi. But Carcelen was intent on representing his country once again. He defied doctors’ recommendations, and the odds, and went out and finished the grueling 15k cross country event.

Before the games began, Carcelen, in an interview said, “I don’t believe luck exists. It’s all in how you approach life.” Well now we know that Carcelen approaches life with toughness, perseverance, endurance, positivity, and pride. As leaders, we can learn from Roberto Carcelen.  Our lesson is that even when the challenge is great and things look bad, if we put our hearts and minds into our effort, we can achieve amazing things. And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tremendous show of sportsmanship by Dario Cologna. Cologna waited nearly 30 minutes for Carcelen to finish the race. He surely could have gone to celebrate winning his gold medal, but instead he waited and greeted Carcelen, congratulating him for finishing the race. Cologna displayed the heart, humility, and unselfishness of a great leader.

Roberto Carcelen will return home without a medal. Dario Cologna will return home with another gold medal (to go with the two he won in Vancouver). But both will go home as champions for things far greater than their accomplishments in the cross country ski competition.

Thanks for reading,
Jim

Ways to follow Dr. Jim Earle:
Twitter – @jvearle
Blog – http://www.jvearle.wordpress.com
Facebook – JVEarleConsulting
Book – 100 Yards of Success: Leadership Lessons from College Football, http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62510-731-2

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