At the Vineman Triathlon expo, we met with our friend Mark Allen (6x IM Kona winner and one of the most accomplished athletes of our time).
One of the great assets of Mark, besides his incredible athleticism, is not only the smart approach to training, but the way he approaches sports and life itself.
We knew he was working on a book called "Fit Soul & Fit Body", together with his friend Brant Secunda, a Huichol Shaman and Healer, who has played a big role in Mark's life and successful career.
I had the chance to buy that book at the expo, and just reading the first chapter I knew that I would love the whole concept of this book.
Mark starts telling his story of the IM Kona in 1989, his sixth attempt to beat Dave Scott for an IM victory.
They were racing side by side for the entire race, out of the water, on the bike and during the whole marathon. With a couple of miles to go, Mark had no positive thoughts left, was completely exhausted and already admitting the possibility of another defeat.
Then he saw his friend Brant standing on the side and watching the race. For some reason, he blanked his mind...he stopped thinking...he released himself of the mental burden of the moment and let go, embracing the race as a whole, instead of fighting it. At that moment, he switched gears and was able to beat Dave...in one of the smallest margins in an IM race...by 58 seconds!
The book Fit Soul & Fit Body, talks about the importance of the connection of the emotional, spiritual and physical aspect of a person. It is not focused on getting faster or stronger physically, but on how to become healthier in all aspects of life...how to be find balance to achieve the goals and happiness that you seek.
This morning on the news, I heard a report about the Olympic games.
Did you know that in the early Olympiads, there where also competitions on Poetry?
A poet could win a gold, silver or bronze Olympic medal!
There was no sweat...no pain...no fatigue. What sport was that? What were the Greeks thinking?
Well, it turns out that the ancient Greeks very much sought perfection in the body and the intellect - they saw it totally connected...just like Mark found out during his 1989 IM victory.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin revived the games in 1896. He was a great fan of the ancient Greeks, obviously, and he also saw that perfection in mind and body went hand in hand. At the Stockholm Games in 1912, Coubertin got music, painting architecture and poetry - both lyric and epic - included on the Olympic roster. Coubertin even anonymously entered his own poem called "Ode to Sport" which won the gold medal that year:
"O Sport, you are Beauty! ... O Sport, you are Justice! ... O Sport, you are Happiness! The body trembles in bliss upon hearing your call ... "
The Olympic discipline of poetry stopped to exist once the poems were translated into different languages and would lose the impact or passion sought by the authors.
With the 30th Olympic Games of the Modern Era starting tonight, we'll witness the highest level of athleticism and performance. The strongest, the fastest, the best trained athletes attend these games, but those with the strongest connection between Mind - Soul - Body will be Olympic Champions!
I hope you'll enjoy this fantastic event and get excited and inspired by the stories, the struggles and the accomplishments of these extraordinary athletes.