At the beginning of 2016, Usain Bolt reported that the Rio 2016 Olympics would be his last Olympics. After Rio 2016, Jessica Ennis posted on Instagram that she has retired from the sport and just a few days ago, the dynamic couple Ashton and Brianne Thiesen-Eaton announced that they too were leaving the sport of track and field. Wow, that was really fast.
All these announcements broke my heart, each of these athletes contributed to my own motivation as a sprinter to keep working hard and always work hard. Tonight, I want to make a personal tribute to each of them and what they taught me, because these are the lessons I will continue to use.
I personally feel like almost every photo of Bolt mid race shows him with a smile on his face? I think it’s brilliant. This guy is running as hard as he can to earn his triple win but hey, let me see how the guys behind me are doing.
I use to YouTube (still do) video’s of Bolt training and how he did it. How did he break the world record? How different is your training to mine exactly? I remember one video in particular stuck out to me. It was sort of a motivational video of Bolt training, giving wise words to aspiring athletes. He said that whenever you are training and you are doing a tough set, you always need to make sure your last set is your best set. Even if it means you take longer rest, you end off that last rep well. I’ve tried this at my own training and it makes me feel amazing. I do struggle to walk in the end because of the amount of fatigue I have but I would much rather give it all I’ve got in my last rep than to end of with a bad time, muscle is memory, so thank you Bolt for making me push a little hard.
I will be honest and admit that I didn’t actually know Brianne Thiesen-Eaton 100% until the Olympics. I only knew her from her husband Ashton Eaton as she was always by his side, being supportive. However when I heard of her retirement and I read their blog post on We Are Eaton – I had a massive respect for her that she could admit that in Rio she gave everything she had and she cannot imagine what more she could do. I believe that takes a lot to admit and I respected her for acknowledging that she has done all she can. Her best effort got her a bronze at the end of the day which I think is fantastic. Thank you Brianne for you honesty.
When I first saw Ashton Eaton, I kept wondering my gosh, this guy always wins! But everybody knows, you cannot win without hard work. I remember reading that when he tried out for his first Olympics, he didn’t qualify, and now look – he is one of the most amazing athletes around! To be honest I like athletes who fail in their journey, because it shows that it’s a completely normal thing to experience and that we can stand up and brush off our socks to start again. It’s just a small setback, so thank you Ashton for that.
In terms of the Eaton’s as a combo – to be able to do 8-10 events on the track is insane. I already believe that being signed up for the 100, 200 and 4×100 relay is a lot as you have to go through heats and finals but to do that many events and come out on top is fantastic. These two made me respect their disciplines to a whole new level. It’s not easy, and I am sure a lot of people will agree with me on that.
My role model. Can we just appreciate how she had a baby and continued to prepare for Olympics? That’s amazing. I’m sure there are plenty of athletes like this and all I can think of doing is giving you the highest honour of a thumbs up! Her win at the London 2012 Olympics gave me chills. I thought she was incredible because of how hard and dedicated she was to the sport. I remember seeing her wax figure at Madame Tussaud’s in London – I nearly cried because it felt like it was real. I have always respected her humility and dedication and I will miss that a lot. Thank you Jessica Ennis.
Each of these athletes had a contribution to igniting my passion for athletics. It has been an absolute privilege to watch them each compete and I wish them the best this year. I think Bolt will continue to compete this year? I have no clue, but either way, track and field will miss these wonderful athletes. Thank you.