In the high pressured world of Olympic and elite sport where going for gold matters, ‘almost’ do not count. It’s the ability to remain focused in the midst of the chaos. The line between victory and defeat is razor thin.
As never before, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic sport is poised to deliver unprecedented medal success. We have Olympic medals to win. What can stop us? Most of our elite and Olympic level athletes are struggling. Their financial lives have dramatically changed. The programmes, policies and products designed to help them need to change too.
Day to day decisions by sport leaders and administrators need to reflect an understanding of the typical experience of our athletes and their day to day lives, history, attitudes and aspirations. Our elite athletes are going for gold but they face major barriers.
What is needed are more effective ways to address the needs of our Olympic and elite athletes and manage through these new challenges.
Good governance and leadership won’t win medals, titles or championships. That is the realm of athletes, but poor governance and leadership will create obstacles that will prevent athletes and teams from producing gold medal performances.
As we head to Rio 2016, Olympic athletes are focused on achieving medal success in Brazil. The target is to win 10 or more Olympic gold medals by 2024.
The Olympic Committee’s (TTOC) role in supporting Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games medal success for Trinidad and Tobago is to work closely with member affiliated sport organisations and governing bodies to help them improve their Olympic and Commonwealth athletes’ performance through delivery of science, medicine, technology, knowledge transfer and capacity building.
The TTOC and the support staff for Rio 2016 are fully focused on the upcoming Games and ensuring the athletes arrive in Brazil in the best possible condition, so that they have the maximum chance of achieving success.
But while the athletes, coaches and respective national sport organisations and support staff solely concentrate on Rio 2016, the TTOC’s job as Olympic sports leader is to plan for success beyond 2016. That means focusing on the Tokyo 2020 and 2024 strategy so that after Rio 2016, there will be no time lost.
The TTOC has to hit the ground running at the very start of the four year Olympic cycle to Tokyo. There is immense pressure. To protect and preserve all that we hold dear in sport, we require sports leaders to be proactive when they know there is a situation that is falling short. Governance and leadership matters.
Sport leaders and their stakeholders cannot continue turning a blind eye. Outdated governance structures and thinking are impediments and obstacles to success.
It’s the attention to details that will make the difference. We have to be bold, focused and fearless. We have to be all in as we strive to live excellence in sport every day not just once every four years. There are people who are afraid of going for gold and it’s not the athletes.
Brian Lewis is president of the T&T Olympic Committee ( TTOC ). The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Olympic Committee.