Boys don’t cry?

Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic – Olympic 400m Hurdles Champion) – He’s not afraid to cry

It started on Monday night. Felix Sanchez, Olympic Champion in 2004 ran the race of his life and regained his crown 8 years on.  Come the medal ceremony, he stood behind the podium, his eyes welling up, his lips a quiver, the commentator struggling to remember the last time an Olympic champion sobbed his way to receiving his medal.

The Tuesday came. Chris Hoy stepped up to the track for the Keirin. A race of strength and lottery in equal measure. His mum could barely watch. We thought he’d lost it as Max Levy briefly took the lead on the last lap. And then in the favoured words of the commentators he “put on the afterburners” and took the race. Now the most successful British Olympian, the pressure was on as much as it was off. This gentle giant couldn’t contain himself either as he stood up to reveive his medal his eyes welling up and by the anthem the tears had fallen.

Chris Hoy – Tears of Joy and the Stuff of Champions

So why comment on this? As men crying is far too often seen as a sign of weakness. Yet these two men are not weak. Winning an Olympic champion takes strength, physical and mental, to prepare and hold it together whilst pursuing their target. So this outpouring of emotion is a natural thing, a healthy process and a much needed release.

Boys don’t cry? Don’t believe the hype. It is fine for us men to cry, it’s actually the stuff of champions.

The importance of individual psychology

I watched this short film on the BBC’s Olympic coverage last night and once again it struck a chord. Psychology is a critical component of sporting success just as it is in life itself. And what this short film highlights is the personal approach we all take in preparing ourselves psychologically for the trials ahead. Whilst the focus on the changing room and the preparations for sporting contest might seem alien to some, there is a useful message in the film and, if we look carefully, many similarities with how we live our everyday lives.

As Jonathan Edwards says in the clip:

Maybe that’s the key here: You need to find something that works for you.

Having tired the ready made solutions with limited success I can’t think of a more useful reminder for most of us.

If the video above does not play it is available to UK residents at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19145914