When we see Olympic athletes on the podium, we know they worked really hard to get there. But http://www.theessaymag.com/canada/ Steven Bradbury’s story struck me with a sense of awe about his incredible determination and persistence.
In 1991, Steven was part of
Australia’s first team to win a championship in a winter sport. They won the 5,000m relay at the World Championships. In 1992, his team crashed during the semi-finals in the Winter Olympics. In the 1994 Winter Olympics, he was part of the short track team that won bronze. On an individual level, he was knocked over by a rival in a semi-final and limped across the finish line for fourth place and was eliminated. In another race, he was pushed by a competitor (who was disqualified) and fell.
More dramatically, at the 1994 World Cup, his right leg was cut by a competitor’s skate and he lost 4 litres of blood. It took 111 stitches and 18 months before he was back up to full strength. He was considered a strong contender for the Winter Olympics but didn’t place in team and had crashes in his individual events.
Then, in what could have been a career-ender, he fractured 2 vertebrae during a training accident. A month and a half in a halo brace, 4 pins in his skull and screws and plates bolted into his chest. He was told he would never compete again.
And then, in the men’s short track at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, a series of unlikely events created the opportunity for him to be in the finals. Because he had 4 races back to back and he was up against stronger and faster contenders, his strategy was to stay on his feet and stay in the race.
Ironically, in the end, it was an ill-timed accident that opened the path for him to… well, see for yourself.
His perseverance is inspirational. Against all odds, he showed up and was ready for opportunity. And then he did a “Bradbury” – an Australian expression named after him for doing an unusual or unexpected success.
Where will persistence take you? And how will you show up – both at the race and in the unseen training in-between?
To your success,
By: Anne Whitmore