Olympics Shows That “Luck” Counts Too

Auto Date Friday, August 22nd, 2008


If you are a human being and are alive and breathing, it is a pretty safe
bet to assume that you are watching the Olympic Games. They are quite
captivating. I’ve really enjoyed the Games thus far and have really had a couple of eye-opening experiences as a coach and some epiphanies as a former athlete.

I’ve really learned a great deal and I would like to share one or two of the points that I have learned with you.

So, if you’d allow me.

Here we go!

Luck Counts

To the uninitiated, the silly and downright ignorant; hard work equals success. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hard work DOES NOT equal success. There are a lot of factors that contribute to success; and hard work is one of them. The hard core truth that some people don’t want to recognize is that hard work does NOT cause success. Currently I am reading this book which is entitled “Fooled By Randomness” and this book clearly states this point. I’m sure many of you have seen “the best and most skilled” athlete not win at the Olympics. And this happens because as you increase the amount of chance in or within an event, skill becomes less of a deciding factor of who is going to win. Case in point, 110 meter hurdles where two of the Olympic favorites where out of the race. Or in judo and wrestling were World Champions and former world medallist were knocked out in the first round. When you “inject” a great deal of chance via rounds, refs, judges, and competitors into the mix, skill becomes LESS of a deciding factor.

Now that does not mean that skill is NOT a factor. IT IS!! But it is only part of the cornucopia of ‘things’ that aid in the tilting of the scale of victory in your favor.

The problem with many of us is that we want to say that the Olympic Gold Medalist or the winner in many situations “worked the hardest” and nothing could be further from the truth. You can’t even say with any degree of certainty that the person who “won” was the best. Nor can you say that the person who won was “the best” on that day. Because that would mean that the deciding factor of who is the best is based upon who wins and who doesn’t and that in and of itself would be a false assessment (but MANY MANY DUMMIES do this). All you can say with any degree of certainty is that the person who WON, did in fact win and the person who medaled, did in fact medal and that they did a great job in competiting and exemplifying and illustrating “their skills” in the environment of play.

This is a tough concept for some people to understand and it probably will be hard for the non-scholars to accept and those who just like to say that hard work equals success. But I’m here to give you the truth. Hard Work
DOES NOT EQUAL SUCCESS. And the early bird does not get the worm (the fastest one, who was blessed enough not to get injured does) :-)

If there was one thing that was sooooo clearly evident about the Olympics, is that the greatest thing about the Olympics, as the creed states, is to take part. Because the rest of it is really just a competition based upon probability and chance. And that’s what makes is soooo great. Everyone has a chance.

This is why:

Japan CAN beat USA for the Gold Medal in softball and; Why the USA Can actually get disqualified in both the men’s and women’s 400 meter relays, and; Why Lolo Jones, who was the gold medal favorite can clip the 9th hurdle and not medal, and; Why Taraje Williams-Murray can beat the medal hopeful in Japan in the first round of the Judo competition, and; Why some of the best conditioned runners who run the marathon, didn’t even finish the race.

This happens because at the Olympic Games, more so that any other event (because of the randomness based upon the amount of competition) – ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. ANYTHING!!

And this is why Michael Phelps will go down as one of the greatest athletes ever. Because his SKILL was soooo great that it really helped him tip the scales of fate in his favor.

My next point….. (and I know this won’t go over well, but here it is)

One of the main reasons, in my opinion, why the United States is not doing well in Track and Field is because of USADA. That’s right. The United States Antidoping Agency tests U.S. Athletes more than any country is tested within their country. And I don’t care what anyone says, if you run the biomechanical analysis of the stress that is placed on the ligaments and tendons at a sub 9.80 100 meter dash, you will readily agree that a natural human being CANNOT withstand such stresses at such speed. If you don’t believe me, well that’s okay (this email is supposed to be controversial, not “right”), maybe you’ll believe Kelli White
–> http://reform.democrats.house.gov/documents/20050615105348-72046.pdf

The reason why it is not an issue within Track and Field is because the playing field amongst them all is level.

So USADA, congratulations. You did a great job. While the other countries are using their monies to construct new training methods and new ways to get better, we are using our money… not to feed the homeless….. not to build better labs…. not to build more training centers or facilities….. but we are using our money to COLLECT BLOOD AND PISS!! Excellent!! Just great.

Why not just let the World AntiDoping Agency do their job and we do ours, which is to support our athletes. Now I DID NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT CHEATING. Cheating is wrong!! What I’m saying is that we need to invest and use our resources more wisely to provide our athletes with an opportunity at success, not treat them as if they are a bunch of banchees running wild without any restraint.

That’s just my .02!

I’m looking forward to your comments.


And my final note. :-)

If you are a personal trainer or a coach and you have not gone to this website yet, then all I can assume is that you don’t want to increase or enhance your business. And I certainly hope that’s not the case because I’m trying to help you to tilt the “success” scale in your favor –> http://rhadi.com/trainingbiz/


Rhadi Ferguson
2004 Olympian
4X National Judo Champion
World Class Strength Coach

Leave a Reply