Rio 2016: A generation inspired
From my experience, one of the most asked questions to children and young adults is “what do YOU want to be when you are older?” or “what is YOUR dream?”. For many of us youths our dream job is one which we decided when we were very young and for the rest of us our dream job changes every time we lift our heads off our pillows. One thing is for sure, however: times, like The Olympics, the World Cup or even the two months of The Great British Bakeoff, can inspire every single one of us, both adults and children. During these events I find myself wanting to be a sprinter, a marathon runner and a synchronized diver!
The person who inspired me the most at these Rio 2016 Olympics games is the GB long distance runner Mohamed “Mo” Farah. Born in Somalia Mo Farah moved to and grew up in Djibouti with his twin brother, and later on moved to England leaving his twin brother at just 8 years old. Not speaking a single word of english and in a completely new environment, with a completely new culture which he had to face without his twin, with no initial “dream” of being a long distance athlete, it is a wonder that Mo Farah achieved all that he has to this day. He inspires us all because of this, and sets a brilliant example to all youths, including those of ethnic minorities (and those who aren’t), showing us that if he can achieve it, so can we. His path to success has not been an easy one, nonetheless . During his senior career it wasn’t constant gold and silver medals for him. Farah sacrificed his social life and other aspects of it to move in with, live and train with a select group of elite long distance athletes. He shows us that as long as you truly want to achieve something more than you want to go out and party or as much as you want to breathe, it is possible.
Apart from his obvious contribution to society and achievement as the first GB athlete to receive three consecutive gold medals, it is his character traits which inspire me. Using his last race as an example, for some of the reasons why this athlete should be an inspiration to us all, we see that at the beginning he held back and ran at a slow pace behind the entire pack. He didn’t rush. He waited and stuck to his plan, showing, firstly, that he had thought about what plan was best according to his abilities so that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, and secondly, that he stuck to it and didn’t panic: sometimes just ‘getting things over with’ only serves to fail us nearer to the end. Although it would be ideal if we could control everything down to perfection, this is often not the case, as seen when Farah tripped up and fell halfway through the race. Did he get thrown off the rhythm that he started the race with? Did he stay down long enough to feel the pain? Did he start thinking ‘am I going to lose’? You can guess by the fact that he won that the answer is ‘NO’, he did not. It shows his determination and his cool-head, and inspires us to not panic when we hit a speed bump, because it’ll be over in a second as long as we adjust, regain our composure, and calmly keep going. In the last lap we saw him move to the front, peeking back every now and again to see where his opponents were. However, rather than concentrating on what they were going to do he pushed harder and concentrated more on winning himself. It showed us that, although it may be fine to observe what others are doing and where they are at, ultimately it should be our drive for our own goals which occupy the majority of our attention, so that, like Mo Farah, we can do our victory lap at the end of our race.
I think that the most valuable and inspirational thing that I have learnt from Mo Farah, as an athlete myself but also as a student, is that, although it may not be exactly clear to me what I’m going to do in the future or how I’m going to get to that goal, and that it’s not a bad thing, because when I do discover what I enjoy, am good at and willing to work hard for, I can achieve it, and so can every single one of you. All it takes is the sentence, the 4 words, 4 syllable phrase: “I can do it”, followed by “I will do it”. Are you ready to say those words?