August 30, 2007 Leave a comment
Tyson Gay of the U.S. won the 100 meters at the world track and field championships earlier this week. He finished in a blazing 9.85 seconds missing the world record by .08 seconds. It took longer than .08 seconds to read “.08 seconds”. One of the people he beat was Asafa Powell of Jamaica, the current world record holder. Powell was the betting favorite to win the race. He led for the first 80 meters.
Both of these men have the talent and physical tools to win. It was what was inside their heads and hearts that distinguished them in this race, not the strength in their legs.
It was Gay who proved more adept at fighting off the nerves. “I was nervous but I spoke to my mother and she helped me calm down,” he said. (Presumably before and not during the race.)
“I tightened up. I panicked. I lost it,” Powell said. “I felt Tyson coming on my shoulder and I panicked. I don’t normally do it but I panicked and Tyson got the better of me. I knew I was in great shape and ready to go but I made a huge mistake in the final.” (I think he panicked.)
There is a minute difference between a world championship and another disappointing finish. The mental aspect makes the difference in all parts of life. Attitude, being able to deal with pressure, and keeping your cool are often what make a person successful.
I find it particularly fascinating when the mind impacts what is often thought of as a purely physical act. Such as running unbelievably fast. Congratulations Tyson!
btw. I love track. I ran track in high school until my parents subtly pointed out that I either needed to be good enough for a track scholarship or I may want to get a job to help pay for college. I consulted the stopwatch and had a job within a week.
A quick post script. This morning Tyson won the 200 meter race in 19.76 seconds, a record time for the world championships. He is only the third person to win the sprint double in the history of the world championships.