The best example of attitude that I have ever witnessed was American Decathlete Dan O’Brien.
As the 1991 World Champion in his event and the alarming favorite to win the 1992 US Olympic Trials (and the Olympics for that matter), Dan no-heighted in the pole vault at the Trials and as a result missed making the Olympic team. Yes, we all remember that silly marketing hype of the infamous “Dan vs. Dave” commercials that totally bombed when Dan failed to make the team. Dave is Dave Johnson who would eventually win a bronze medal at the games. To me, the best decathlete in the world stayed home and watched the Olympics on TV like I did!
Our track team was lucky to meet him in 1993 when we were competing at the CIS Championships Track & Field at the converted Skydome in Toronto, Canada. Normally, they are held on a weekend, but we were competing on a Tuesday & Wednesday, with the IAAF World Indoor Championships that weekend. Of course, some of us stayed the extra few days to watch the meet, even with final exams looming.
We bumped into Dan that weekend at the hotel lobby, and he was cheerful, kind, and even let us take photos with him, unlike some world class athletes who were totally smug or wearing sunglasses indoors so they wouldn’t be recognized.
In an article from USA Today, June 21, 1996, he said he learned from his experience, “My failure at the 1992 trials set the path for where I am today. If it hadn’t happened, and I’d gone on to win the gold medal, I probably wouldn’t even be competing anymore, and I might not be a good loser. The failure showed me how committed I really am.”
Dan O’Brien went on to win the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics later that summer.
To me, that is a sign of a true champion and a lot of class. Because it’s all about attitude. Imagine keeping that drive and desire for 4 more years!
This was posted on the refridgerator at my previous company. I always refer to this when I get pissed off…
by Charles Swindoll
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.
It will make or break a company … a church … a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude …
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
UPDATE: Here is a quote from John Smith from http://speedendurance.com/category/hsi-videos/
“A true champion, when they lose, they don’t get defeated. They get inspired by their loss. It makes them come back to practce. They can’t wait to get to the track. They blame no one.”