Learning to Lose
There’s no other place where a loss is more public and painful than in the Olympics. Imagine training for years (or all your life) for that special moment to arrive, that moment in which you rise to the occasion and put your all into becoming the number one athlete in your sport—a certified gold Olympian. And then you lose, possibly in a decisive, crushing defeat. Now what?
Overall, I’ve been impressed with the grace and poise that participants have shown in losses. Two losses are particularly notable. Both involve the US women gymnasts—Nastia Liukin's second-place finish on the uneven bars and [|http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-olygym18-2008aug18,0,1561224.story|Shawn Johnson’s second-place finish on the floor exercise]. Despite the scoring controversies surrounding these losses (personally, I think they both earned the gold), it was remarkable to see how they readily accepted the losses and moved on.
Not only did they move on, they moved on to win again. Both subsequent wins were special: Shawn won her first gold and Nastia won her 5th medal to tie Shannon Miller and Mary Lou Retton. Shawn Johnson, Nastia Luikin, and others clearly understand the following.