Now that we have completed 17 days of Olympics, I think it is a perfect time to reflect on the lessons we learned from them that can be applied to our lives, our children, and the cattle we raise. The Olympics are not just competitions between athletes, but more a culmination of the dedication, the challenges, and the sacrifice they gave for themselves and their countries with the dream of being the best in the world.

So what did we learn?

Hard work–   You cannot get anywhere in life without hard work, whether it is in athletics, school, or the show ring. An athlete cannot just decide a week, or even a month before the Olympics and decide that they want to go win a gold medal, no matter how much raw talent they have. It may take years, or an entire lifetime to get to the place they want to be.

Honesty–   So much focus is placed on the people that cheat to win in the Olympics, but as a percentage of all the athletes competing, cheaters make up a very small percentage. That being said, cheaters do exist in the Olympics, as in every turn of our everyday lives. We also see this in the show ring. Yes, cheaters do win sometimes. But a lot of good honest people win also, and at the end of the day, the honest competitors can always hold their heads high and be proud of what they have done.

Winning isn’t guaranteed–   No matter how hard you have worked, and how much better you are than your competition, winning is not guaranteed. We witnessed this time and time again in London. The “GREATS” can have bad days, or just good days, and the “UNDERDOGS” can have the day of their life. I love McKayla Maroney, but after a perfect vault in the team competition, it happened to her in the individual vault competition.

Gold isn’t everything–   So much focus is placed on winning gold, and how many medals a country wins. How about those countries that won their first Olympic medal in their country’s history? It doesn’t matter what color the medal is, it is still the best they have ever done. What about Oscar Pistorius? He is not a hero in South Africa, or a role model for the entire world because he won gold, it is because he overcame unbelievable challenges, and exceeded everybody’s expectations (except his own) in making the semifinals of the Men’s 400M Dash.

Discipline–   Yes, we all know that it takes lots of hard work to make the Olympics, but it also takes discipline. They may sound like the same thing, but they are not. Discipline is going to do that workout when you are sore or sick, it is running in -5 degree weather, or in the rain, it is getting your work done when everyone else is going to the lake for the weekend or going to see that midnight showing of the latest release movie. People may say these athletes are missing out on life, and they would say that the world is missing out on their dreams.

Respect your competition–   The Olympics are the greatest spectacle of peace on the planet. Despite the wars that are taking place, or the hatred of others religions, races, or political beliefs, the Olympics is the only place that brings them all together for peaceful competition. And after a grueling competition with their competition, they shake hands, they hug, they cry, and they congratulate each other for a wonderful battle.

Everyone needs support–   Proctor & Gamble truly highlighted this support in their Olympic Commercials. Here’s a video if you missed it. Athletes cannot do it alone. They have the support of their families, coaches, teammates, sponsors, and even their country. As a parent, I understand that my daughter does have needs to accomplish her dreams. That being said, she needs to do the hard work and have the discipline to make it happen.

My examples may be focused around athletics, but each and every single one of us can apply this to our showing, jobs, debate team, academics, or anything else that requires something more than just showing up.

Zane Mai
ZNT Cattle Co.