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College basketball coach, Tony Bennett once said, “If you use adversity right, it will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone any other way!”

What does it mean to use adversity right?

It means to use it to build resilience.

To not shy away from opportunities to test yourself.

To learn from adverse experiences.

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One of the most heart warming stories from the Tokyo Olympics came from the men’s decathlon.

At the starting line for the final event, the tough 1,500 metres, young Australian Ashley Moloney was in the bronze medal position, but had a couple of great athletes just behind him, ready to leap into his spot.

The older Australian, Moloney’s training partner and mentor, Cedric Dubler, was labouring with an injured leg and had no chance of featuring in the medals, but halfway through the race, he could be seen screaming at his Aussie team-mate to keep pushing.

Moloney gritted his teeth, ran a personal best time and held on to win Australia’s first ever Olympic decathlon medal.

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There has been some consternation from certain pundits about athletes celebrating winning a silver medal at the Olympics.

They seem to think that only the gold medallist deserves this privilege.

As if being the second best in the entire world, missing out by .06 of a second and getting a medal for your efforts is some kind of participation award.

What a sad, mean-spirited way of looking at the world.

I can only imagine the hard work and dedication that it takes to become an Olympic athlete.

Not to mention to give yourself a chance of winning.

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In the Olympics this evening, there were two heats in the men’s 5,000 metres.

The first heat was fairly pedestrian in pace, whilst the second was much faster.

Why does this matter? It’s only a heat.

To qualify for the final, the top five from each heat go through, plus the next five fastest finishers.

Guess who they were?

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A boxer has someone in their corner.

They will bark instructions and provide coaching.

They will remind them of the pre-fight strategy.

They will be an extra set of eyes, giving a different perspective on the progress of the fight and the perceived weaknesses of the opponent.

They will do their best to stop the bleeding if the claret starts pouring.

And alas, they will protect them by throwing in the towel the beating is getting too unsafe.

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I watched with great interest as Kristian Blummenfelt won the Olympic triathlon today.

It was an extraordinary effort from the Norwegian and the moment he crossed the finish line, he fell to his knees and was in obvious discomfort.

It was hard to watch as he vomited all over the ground, but to me it made his win even more impressive.

He won by a reasonable margin in the end, but to do so, he pushed himself to the very limits of his capability.

Far beyond what was comfortable.

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What a wonderful celebration of humanity.

All nations represented.

Athletes of all shapes and sizes.

Flags waving proudly.

People smiling and dancing.

Everyone delighted to be there.

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Yesterday, I had the great joy of watching the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA Championship, led by the extraordinary Giannis Antetokounmpo.

My oldest son is a big Bucks and Giannis fan, so to share this experience with him was very special.

Giannis is an amazing young man, having been brought up in Greece the son of Nigerian immigrants and the way he has remained humble and family oriented throughout his burgeoning career is inspirational and impressive.

As a basketball fan, I have watched his game develop to an incredible level due to his work ethic and drive, and he is to be congratulated for his remarkable achievements.

But what can we learn from a 6’10” athletic beast who just managed to score 50 points along with 14 rebounds and 5 blocks to win the NBA title?

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American Ice Hockey gold medallist, Jim Craig once said, “Don’t ever let your memories be bigger than your dreams.”

I wonder if he said this before or after he won his gold medal?

If he said it before, it would have been a great motivation to achieve the ultimate heights of his sport.

But if he said it afterwards, it creates a whole different perspective.

Athletes often reach their greatest achievements at a young age.

Not many 40 year olds win Wimbledon or a gymnastics medal.

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Like many Australian sports lovers, I stayed up late last weekend to watch our very own Ash Barty win her first Wimbledon title. She was the first Australian woman to win since the great Evonne Goolagong Cawley and it was a wonderful achievement for an outstanding athlete (and fellow Richmond supporter).

One of my favourite Ash Barty quotes is, “I think you have to go out believing you can win the match; otherwise, there’s no point walking out on the court, really.”

It’s a great mindset to have.

Go out there believing you can win.

Knowing that you’ve done the work.

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