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What the 2016 Rio Olympics taught us about business success


The 2016 Rio Olympics is barely over and we’re already having serious withdrawal symptoms. So, to help us come to terms with the end of what’s been a fantastic Games, we look back at some of the highlights and what they can teach us about being successful in business.

1. It’s OK to fall as long as you get back up

British runner Mo Farah fell in the 10,000m men’s final. At this point he could have admitted defeat. Instead, he quickly got up, gave a quick thumbs-up to the crowd and then went on to win gold. His determination shows that even when you experience setbacks you can still go on to be successful, as long as you keep trying.

2. Mistakes happen – even to the best of us

Sometimes it can be easy to dwell on past mistakes but the important thing to remember is that we all make them – even Olympic athletes. For example, Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori dropped his racket, French fencer Enzo LeFort’s phone dropped out of his pocket and Spanish swimmer Miguel Duran Navia had a false start. Even Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, tore his cap seconds before swimming in the relay.

3. You can do anything you put your mind to

All of the Olympic gold medallists have one thing in common – they know what they want and they go for it, just like business owners should too. For instance, after putting on one of the greatest Olympic Games performances by a gymnast, American sensation Simone Biles took home an amazing five medals – four gold and one bronze. It was a fantastic result for her first Olympic Games. You can also reach big things if you dare to dream them.

4. Always be professional

Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby was sent home after refusing to shake the hand of Israeli Or Sasson following the end of their bout. His rude behaviour was booed by the Rio crowd and reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Likewise, in business it’s important to always remain professional.

5. Sometimes unconventional methods win

Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas caused much controversy after she dived (or fell) over the finish line in the women’s 400m final to claim the gold medal. Some have criticised the move as unsportsmanlike and unethical but others have applauded her efforts. Whilst the unconventional move has been highly debated, it’s a legitimate tactic and is perfectly legal whether it was intended by Miller or not. It just goes to show that sometimes success is achieved in unusual ways. It’s just up to you to decide what you’re prepared to do to achieve it.

6. Be willing to learn from others

After winning her fourth gold medal in the women’s omnium Laura Trott thanked her team for their support and guidance. She said: “I am just so happy that it came together and I honestly can’t thank everyone at home enough.

“Like the people that you don’t see that have really, really helped me. Like the people that we work with in the gyms, to the people that look at our power data, my nutritionist. I couldn’t have done it without every single one of them – especially to my coach Paul Manning as well.”

And, if the first woman in British history to win four Olympic gold medals can appreciate she needed help along the way, business owners should be willing to admit that they don’t know everything too. Even the greats need mentors after all.

7. By helping others you help yourself

Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand showed incredible sportsmanship when she helped American runner Abbey D’Agostino finish the race after a collision. The pair fell onto the track during the women’s 5,000m heat, and Hamblin helped D’Agostino to her feet and encouraged her to continue the race. The pair were awarded a special Olympic medal for sportsmanship. Likewise, in business it’s always beneficial to help others when you can. Not only will it feel great it could help you in the long run too.

What was your favourite moment from the 2016 Rio Olympics? Did it teach you anything about running your business? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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