Ten or more Olympic Champions by the year 2024. Groundbreaking. Significant. Trinidad and Tobago Olympic and sport history in the making. What’s the one thing that must be done to create that reality?
Many of our Olympic and world level athletes feel trapped in a time warp facing formidable challenges. Trapped but not defeated. Their silent screams go unheard in the cacophony of noise emanating from the uncaring mob whose only desire is to ride the bandwagon of glory. The process required to create the demanded glory bypassed as an inconvenient plea.
Those who really care seem few while the majority can sometimes be shamed into acting in the athletes’ best interest. Trapped as the world of sport advances in a technological age. Bonds formed under duress, desperate souls wondering what comes next may well describe the T&T athlete striving to be a World and Olympic champion.
Often, little decisions are more revealing than big ones. Athlete centred is the buzz word. But every day decisions are made that point to the fact that athlete centred is not a deep commitment. Athletes and those aspiring to achieve world class and Olympic status continue to battle the forces of mediocrity.
The courage to pursue a dream is not all that is needed. Discipline and the temerity to persevere and focus on what you can control and to treat what you can’t control as distractions is an aquired habit. Striving to be significant not just successful.
Michael Johnson and his team at Michael Johnson Performance Centre during last week’s first ever bpTT/TTOC /MJP High Performance Summit sought to provide our athletes with an intense week of focused high performance treatment and service.
BpTT, a TTOC partner and official supporter of the Olympic Committee created the opportunity for the TTOC to partner with the MJP Centre and the legendary founder of MJP, Olympic and World Champion Michael Johnson.
Individual athletes would have had the opportunity to experience the high quality and cutting edge centre and services. Last week was however the first ever training camp type summit. If you want to be the best, get advice from the best. Also at the summit was TTO multiple Olympic medal legend, Ato Boldon.
In striving for 10 or more Olympic Gold medals by the year 2024 a system of excellence that is clear and defined that provides a development pathway and performance management system is a critical success factor. The demands of world and Olympic level sport is not a nuisance value and a waste of financial resources.
Extraordinary as it may seem TTO athletes must make a choice. Following their dream of Olympic and World titles and being the absolute best is not as important as fitting into traditional thinking as to what is a career. The journey to excellence for T&T athletes in both individual and team sports remains a labour of love and a step too far.
Dreams are brutally destroyed on the jagged rocks of harsh and unkind words and old ways of thinking and doing things. As a nation we celebrate every success but ignore the process. Athletes who follow their dreams have to rise above what can feel like an ongoing barrage of emotional and mental insensitivity at best or deliberate destruction at worse.
Trinidad and Tobago our talented sportsmen and women are facing unkind obstacles that can be removed with a sincere effort to understand the realities of the modern world of global sport.
• Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee.