Fighting Sarah - More Olympic Moments

Sarah Stevenson the Taekwondo exponent from Great Britain has to fight on two fronts. In the quarter-finals she was up against Zhong Chen the gold medalist in Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004). She lost but would have won but the referee did not award her the 2 points for the kick that landed on Zhong Chen's face at the end of the third and final round.
Screenshot from - Photo by Dave Shopland
Sarah was predicted to be a future champ by movie star Jackie Chan when she was 17. Jackie pitched in by supporting her travelling expenses.

She was ranting for dear life as she was also in Sydney and Athens but with nothing to show. Angry, she said that refrees can rule and ruin one's life. At 25, she may be past her prime when the London Olympics comes around in 2012.

An appeal was made. The battle lines on another front was drawn. But Sarah and her officials were not expecting to win this 'fourth' round away from the competition mat. No appeals against refreeing decisions in the Olympics has ever being successful.

And when they got what they wanted, a shot in the semi-finals, to an opponent she has met and defeated twice before, Sarah was not ready psychologically and emotionally. Worse she has only 20 minutes to prepare as the show was already back up for more than an hour and must go on for the cameras and the big shots.

She lost.

This was the post-mortem after the defeat:
1. "It was tough, I wasn't ready, it was too much for me to handle and I just lost it," 2. "The crowd got to me and I didn't have time to get a strategy."

3. "We can prepare for the competition but not for that sort of stress,"

Learning from this incident:
Emotionally she has a roller coaster ride. She came back from the depths of despair, anger and screaming bloody robbery. Her body though competitive was not ready. She sprained her ankle and lost 4-1.

Psychologically she did not expect to win the appeal. They tabled it out of spite. There were too much negative energies around. It poisoned the body. It get knotted up and no longer tough, supple and agile.

Strategy-wise there was none for the fight. There was no time to prepare for the fight. Sure way to lose.

Mentally, she was weakened. She was stressed out. It was too much too handle. The crowd not only booed her but also supported her opponent. She lost focus and the fight.

Tuning in and sharpening focus
1. Believe in the impossible. Keep the focus on the job at hand and also winning. Expect to succeed even though the appeal has never being successful. Otherwise, don't appeal. Once committed believe in ourselves.

2. Shield the competitor from emotional and psychological harm and distractions. Let the handlers do the job away from the mat. But Sarah was too much part of the anger that she was a spent force and was not ready when called on to fight.

3. Tactical discipline and formation must be maintained under stress and external opposition. Someone obviously forgot his/her job to control and prepare Sarah. Division of work is important. Staying discipline under all circumstances separate the gold medalist from the silver and the bronze.

4. Be firm for all you want but also be polite despite provocations. This tune the body and cool the mind and keep it under control. Sarah was sreaming, "Its a blatant robbery."


Kenny Mah said…
This example and more we can learn from our Olympians the true spirit of hard work and achievement. :)
I din see the matches that she took part but from your descriptions she didn't possess the essential traits of a champion but was distracted by this and that ,
a hall mark of a non-champion.

or issit the decisive "winning" factor ? She lacks that " one killer punch" which a true student need to master over 20 years or more , to execute in just 1 sec...or die
Pete said…
Aiyo, I missed this match!

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