5 Lessons to Learn from Usain Bolt and 2017 World Athletics Championship

The 2017 World Athletics Championship has come and gone, but its memories will linger on. It was an event that was anticipated with lots of expectations as world champions compete in different sporting activities. Records were set and broken. But the champion remains unbroken.

For a couple of days I’ve noticed the trend in comments from my Facebook friends, and friends of my friends about the thrills and moments in the relay races, unarguably the most talked about of the London sporting events. It was a stage the whole world want to witness, because it was going to be the last event Usain Bolt, the lightning bolt, will compete in.

We all wanted to witness how Bolt will outrun his fierce opponents and retire as the world greatest athlete. Alas he, lost in his most specialized of the events to Gatlin and Christian Coleman.

Bolt might have lost in the finals but he remains a legend in the sporting industry. He was a master of his craft, and he gave everything to ensure he remains at his best. I was particularly shocked reading the comments and posts on Facebook on the loss of Bolt to Gatlin in the 100m race and his shocking injury during the 4 times 100 metres relay. Some of the comments are as follow:

“Bolt should never have raced in the London Events. He should have ‘ended well’.”

Another said, “If he had not contested in the event he would have retired on a clean sheet.”

These thoughts are cowardly to great men. Great men are not failures when they fail, because they never bow to defeat. It could have been alright to say that if Usain Bolt had relaxed on his laurels, neglecting regular training and hard work, but that was not the case. Whether it is in your business, studies, or an enterprise you’ve put all into, you aren’t a failure even if you do not succeed. You only fail when you refuse to bounce back better, time and again.

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Below are 5 Things You Should Learn from Usain Bolt and His London Experience

1. Be Hungry

One of my favorite motivational speakers is Les Brown. In one of his outstanding presentations where setting high goals and not giving up on his dreams has enable him achieve in life. So, you have to have a strong HUNGER for success, a passionate HUNGER for doing things smart and right.

This will enable you pursue excellence and success in whatever you do, and be at your best even if the whole world say NO.  The truth is that it is good to set goals but it is twice great to follow up on them with actionable plans. It is this HUNGER that led Coleman and Gatlin outshine Bolt. They could have just said, “eh, c’mon this is Bolt here. He is the best. He’ll win after all”, but they gave their best to the last.

They may never be champions again, but it will definitely be on record that they aced Usain Bolt to third in his last major race.

Be Hungry! Every day is another opportunity. Never feel inferior and bow to defeat.

2. Success or Failure: Your Choice

For those who know, life is no joke place. It is a mystery on its own and a rough terrain with thorns and mixed experiences. In fact, there are a million and one thoughts about life. However, in all of these thoughts it is central that ‘life is not a bed of roses’. It is true that if man hasn’t find what he is worth dying for he isn’t fit to live.

By this, achievement comes with lots of smart and hard work, persistence, discipline, dedication and so on. In an interview with Mellisa Hoyer, Usain Bolt revealed that his greatest goal is to become the greatest, and to be remembered in the book of history as a great sportsman.

What exactly do you want to be remembered for?

3. Don’t be a Coward

I’ve never heard anybody wanting to lose in whatever endeavor they do. There is this awe to want to do more at every success in an adventure. Indeed, the taste of success is sweet. And FEAR is the greatest master of cowards. It begins when you doubt your ability to succeed. You don’t want to be laughed at by friends and family. You’re afraid. You don’t want to fall.

Until you start trying today, your ‘great’ ideas will die with you. How many are great ideas buried six feet in the ground when men are afraid to act on them. The assertion of Muhammed Abdullahi is apt: “Work hard and smart. Keep pushing. Persistence wears out resistance. Results cancels Insults.”

Kill the FEAR. Be a WARRIOR and live your dream. Today.


4. Be Gallant, even In Defeat

Ever heard of the quote, “be magnanimous in victory and gallant in defeat.” Yes. It is true that we all like the taste of victory (who on earth doesn’t like to be a champion?). We want our names to be echoed in praises and our neck graced with laurels.

Unlike the general notion that victory is only attainable when we at the first, it can also be that we are victorious during our falls as that reminds us that no man is infallible, and there’s nothing really like being indispensable. Bolt’s reaction after the race was astonishing as he acknowledged his competitors and was respected by his contenders too as a friendly and worthy athlete.

No matter your disappointments, acknowledge your flaws, learn your lessons and appreciate your competitors, where necessary.

5. Be Natural, It Pays.

The world celebrate people who are plain in what they do; people who don’t cheat. To cheat means you are a mediocre, a camouflage and a coward. When I was a teen I used to envy Marian Jones. She was my super star in athletics. Alas! Shocking was it when I read that she’s ripped off her ENTIRE medals.


She doped. She cheated.

Cutting unethical corners means you have a low self-esteem and inferiority complex. It makes you lose self-respect and kills your natural abilities.

The most troubling part is that no matter how large you’ve lived as a cheat, or how smart you’ve bribed your way to success, if you’re not eventually caught by the INTERNATIONAL DOPING TEST COMMITTEE, you will be haunted deep down for the rest of your life that you’ve acquired and being praised for what you don’t deserve. Worse is that if you are caught, you lose your reputation and integrity. And integrity is like a building, it is easier to bring down that to erect.

Gianluigi Buffon’s message to Usain Bolt is the best remarks I’ve read so far. I feel it will inspire you too, regardless the position you are, not to give up. He wrote:

“Every story has its end. And when the beginning is extraordinary, the end has to be one to remember. Usain Bolt, the fastest man of all times, the lightning of athletics retires.

Inevitable. And yet incredible.

As it has been his entire career. But in life you never really stop running. You just do it on a different track. So keep on running Lightning Bolt. While the world still tries to reach you.”


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