Let me start with a question. How will the Olympic Games affect you this summer? It’s already affecting people in lots of different ways. For starters, I’ve noticed many people on social media complaining about it. How it’s causing a serious problem for their daily commute into London or there’s nothing good on the telly. But that’s just typically British isn’t it? We’re given this amazing opportunity to host the world’s biggest sporting event and all we can do is moan about it. Sure there’s going to be some disruption, but just stop to think of the big picture for a minute.
On 6 May 1954, Roger Bannister ran one mile in four minutes, silencing claims from many that it just couldn’t be done. Just 46 days later, in Finland, that record was broken by two seconds, and the record is currently held by Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco who ran it in 3:45:13. As soon as the world knew a four-minute mile was possible, it was done time and time again until the bar was raised even higher. During the Olympic Games this year there will, without doubt, be many personal, British and global records broken as athletes from all over the world manage to push themselves to even greater things and beyond those achieved by Sir Roger 58 years ago.
I don’t know about you, but that really makes me think about my own body and what I’m truly capable of. In 2000 I found myself in hospital after a spinal disc herniation made it impossible for me to move my legs. Both my surgeon and physiotherapist told me that any exercise like running and cycling could seriously increase the risk of it happening all over again. I could have quite easily taken their word for it and vowed never to step foot in a gym again for the sake of my back. However, 12 years later and here I am – a personal trainer who teaches regular spinning classes and helps people to run barefoot. The Olympics has even inspired me and this summer I’m aiming to beat my personal best for a half-marathon. I’m also seeing that Olympic effect in my gym. My clients are starting to see their own potential and together we are finding out what their bodies are really capable of. For some people the Olympics is like a shift of focus or a lifting fog. If these athletes can do that, then why can’t they? Suddenly there are no barriers, only goals.
So, when you sit down on your sofa and flick on the telly to watch the Olympic coverage, don’t even start to think that you could never do something like that. You’re just as capable of pushing your own body beyond its normal limits as those athletes are. In fact, why not make a promise to yourself that, before the Games are over, you’re going to find a way to push your body beyond its normal limits and achieve your own personal greatness?