Well, ‘Team GB’ are arriving home after a very successful Olympics and the Olympic baton has been passed to us ready for 2012.
I know that incredible mindset of Michael Phelps has stood out for me, as well as Usain Bolt’s lengthy strides… And I already mentioned Vincent Hancock because he used hypnosis to excel… There were others who proved so much of golden achievement is in the mind…
There is currently lot of reflection and debate in the press about the Olympics… Many a post-mortem is happening and much of it is positive… What about the reflection of the athletes too though?
What do you think? Who is likely to experience more regret? Someone who won the silver medal in the Olympics, or someone who won the bronze medal in the Olympics?
In one study, Bob Willingham took thousands of photographs of athletes in the seconds after they had won or lost a medal. Next, David Matsumoto then coded the photographs according to the athletes’ expressions.
What did they find? Bronze-medal winners looked nearly as happy as the winners of the gold medal, whereas the expressions of the silver medalists more closely resembled the athletes who placed fifth.
Silver medalists at the Olympics seem to perform what we call an upward comparison — they compare themselves against someone better off than them. Bronze medalists seem to perform downward comparison — they tend to compare themselves with people who did worse.
I also want to mention pole Vaulter Steve Hooker. Believe it or not, Steve had a fear of the pole vault a few years ago and yet he claimed gold in this Olympics…
A hypnotherapist cured Steve Hooker’s fear of pole vaulting a few years ago and the success was visible on Friday when the Australian soared to Olympic gold in dramatic fashion. Hooker required a third attempt over 5.65 metres in qualifying to make the final, and on Friday also left it to the final jump to clear 5.80m, 5.85m and 5.90m, which earned him the Olympic title.
That he then went on to cleared an Olympic record 5.96m on his final try also fitted the picture.
“The whole competition was mentally and physically the hardest thing I have done in my life. It was more boxing than pole vault.
“I should have skipped the second jumps altogether. They were not working for me. I should have gone straight to the third,” Hooker said light-heartedly after becoming the first Olympic champion from Australia in the discipline.
Such stamina on the world stage was impossible for Hooker in his younger days.
He told Friday’s edition of The Australian daily that he was close to quitting in 2001 after throwing tantrums in training and not fully coping with the mental aspect of the tough discipline.
“I would run through a lot and not take off and it got to the point, by the end of it I thought about giving it in. It was so mentally draining going to training not knowing if I would be able to jump or not.
“I was throwing poles, cracking tantrums, I was in a miserable bad mood. Your whole life, it really brings it down when it’s really what you want to do and you can’t do it just because it’s not clicking in your brain,” Hooker said.
Hypnotism and visualization techniques from his sports psychologist brought the now 26-year-old Hooker back on track.
“I would talk to her at the start of the session and say, ‘I want to talk about lowering the pole vault in my last couple of steps and jumping off the ground.’ I would tell her the cues I wanted to work on, so she’d work it into the things that she was saying while I was under hypnosis,” he told The Australian.
The results came gradually and Hooker joined the elite 6.00m club earlier this year before he peaked in Beijing.
But he did it the hard way before realizing that the third attempt over 5.90m would give him gold because Russian rival Evgeny Lukyanenko had already missed.
“It took a moment and I realized I could do something every kid dreams of. Evgeny was out and it was in my hands. I thought I was the person who could do it,” he said about his thoughts before soaring to gold.
Another fabulous story. For me, the Olympics gives us the opportunity to showcase and really point out the way that the mindset affects performance in so many different ways.
On to other things this week too…I have a crazy blog entry for you tomorrow…