The Message of the Olympics

Photo of Jessica Ennis
Jessica Ennis with Olympic gold medal

I don’t know about you, but I woke up on Monday morning of this week feeling quite sad. The Olympics finished on Sunday and I think it just affected me on a very deep level.

Among other things, it was really refreshing for the TV to be filled with positivity, dedication, passion, and achievement instead of being saturated with conflict, negativity or instant celebrity. Parents have been telling their children, ‘Look at what hard work and dedication can do!’ Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. What an inspiring message.

I really felt part of these Olympics, which was helped in part because it’s the first ever Olympics that were held in my time zone. I have memories of previous Olympics where I had to sit through the night to watch particular events. I watched a lot of Olympics this time around. The spirit absolutely captivated me in a way that I really didn’t expect and I was so proud of Team GB for their medal haul (apologies to my international readers, but I am British. 🙂 Go ‘your team’ too!!!)

I was also lucky enough to be there at the Men’s 100 metres final where Usain Bolt ran the race in 9.63 seconds. Wow!! It’s weird, but when you’re there you would swear they all ran it in about 6 seconds. I’ve never seen people move so fast before. I had been visualizing being there for about a year before I actually got the tickets. I didn’t get any tickets at all on the first two ballots and then, in May, a few extra tickets were made available for people who hadn’t obtained any yet. I sat at the computer from the start time of 11am and finally got my tickets at exactly 12.12pm, which I thought was kind of cool. 🙂

There were many powerful messages that I took away from the games but one in particular was around self-image, and particularly that of women. I read an excellent article by Elizabeth Day in The Observer newspaper on Sunday (12th August). It was titled, ‘The Only Way is Ennis – Why Women Now Have a New Set of Great Role Models’ and pointed out that many women were able to see that they didn’t need to gain a stick-thin image. None of the female athletes were like that. Here’s a link to an online version of the article (different title but mostly the same content).

She explained how even she had previously unfavourably compared herself to catwalk models but now was able to value her body for its strength and good health. That is a powerful message.

She wrote, “It’s hard to remember a time when women were given such a resoundingly positive message.”

One 22-year-old girl who was quoted in the article said she caught her own reflection in a shop window. She always thought she had ‘stocky’ legs but now, instead, she thought, “No. You know what? My legs are strong, they can do things and for once I’m proud of that.”

My partner, Elizabeth, is an actress. She’s never been obsessed with self-image but instead she’s always focused on good health and all that that means. She’s so inspired by the athletics that she’s convinced me to put on my athletics coaching hat again and start training her as a sprinter. I used to be an athletics coach but haven’t done any for a few years. I’m quite looking forward to it. I don’t think Elizabeth knows what she’s getting herself into. 🙂

Here’s to good health!

My simple formula is: Eat well, sleep well, and exercise well!