The best thing about the Olympics is the chance to immerse yourself in sports that you usually have very little contact with. And, of course, become an armchair expert in them in a few hours!
I usually know next to nothing about top-level table tennis, but a few nights ago I found myself watching an Australian called William Henzell. He’s going well so far, having won his first and second round matches against higher-ranked opponents.
Now, I don’t know William from a bar of soap, but after a Google search I discovered he’s got an amazing story.
He left home aged 14 to move to Sweden to try to become an Olympic-level player. He won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2006. He made it to the third round of the tournament at the Beijing Olympics.
But after those games, Henzell was burnt out. He went to work as an IT manager and put his bat down. Then 18 months later, he decided he wanted another shot at the biggest sporting event on earth.
Henzell trains six hours a day, six days a week. He does so in relative anonymity. He’s unlikely to get any big prize-money cheques or become a household name. But his dedication to his sport and his discipline is unquestioned.
During this Olympics, forget about the big name superstars for a while and concentrate on an athlete you’ve never heard of. Try and learn something about their story, or at least what it takes to be a top-level athlete in their sport.
These stories should inspire entrepreneurs – who also put in long hours, often with little reward – as they show that mastering your passion brings its own rewards.
Get it done – today!