November 20th, 2012
Clarity about what success means is not easily arrived at. It means different things to different people. That’s the message most people don’t like or want to hear. They much prefer hearing that success is as easy as going to the grocery, taking it up from the shelf and paying the cashier. When I share with people my view that sport is more than winning medals, getting elite athlete funding or the plane ride, the smirk appears on faces. It is what it is—nothing personal.
Lost in thought over a labour of love is how I describe the culture that has been created in the Olympic Committee since 1997. It’s what happens when you set goals, write them down and look at those goals daily. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
The challenge in all of this is to have a balanced perspective and not get carried away with the pursuit of medal success. Balance the score card. Olympism and the Olympic movement can’t use medals as the only yardstick by which success is measured and performance is evaluated.
There is a delicate balance that ought to be struck but it requires knowing where the equilibrium point is. It’s difficult to have a sense of perspective and context without an understanding of Olympism.
What does the Olympic committee do then if not send teams to win medals? There is a much broader spectrum than that. Olympism and the Olympic movement is about saving lives, one youth at a time. It’s about teaching young people to live with each other, how to strive to be the best they can be and about doing all those things honestly and ethically. It’s about working hard, respecting your elders and each other. It’s about having good manners, speaking proper
English and about caring for the environment and your community. But no one wants to hear that message. Medals are easier to define and measure.
However, the TTOC by virtue of the Olympic Charter has the enormous responsibility of leading, guiding and developing the local Olympic movement and spreading the message of Olympism.
Elected executive officers of the TTOC are therefore guardians of Olympism as the defender of the interests of Olympic sport, Olympism and the Olympic movement here in T&T. A crucial skill set in successfully carrying out the mandate is the ability to deal with the myriad contradictions and search for balance between competing parts of the local sport eco system. The search for balance between the parts is essential and will invariably go beyond the confines of sport into the wider realities of daily life.
Nevertheless, in the absence of knowledge about Olympism, the Olympic charter, values, mission, ideals and purpose of the Olympic movement appreciating, measuring and evaluating success is near impossible. The Olympic ideals, spirit, values, purpose, vision and mission has stood the test of time. 776 BC to now is a long time.
Since 1948 the TTOC has lived up to its mandate as enshrined in the Olympic Charter. That it has done so without fear or favour is due to steadfast and unfaltering fidelity to the fundamental principles of Olympism. There is no room for hypocrisy or manoeuvering.
The TTOC will always have to carry the burden and responsibility of loyalty to the Olympic Charter and the fundamental principles of Olympism. It’s easy to run from the challenge and settle for medals as the be all and end all. It’s less complicated and stressful.
The modern world is more materialistic. There is a lack of patience and perseverance everyone wants results and rewards now. Finding the balance in such an environment requires clarity of thought and courage to stand in the gap and go against the grain.