21 September 2016

Is winning the only way to be successful?

Image from Twitter.

Image from Twitter.

I think all too often we obsess with the wrong idea of success. A pair of brothers have hit the headlines this week, reminding us all what true success really means.

Jonny and Alistair Brownlee were competing in the World Triathlon Series in Mexico; Jonny competing to take the series title. It was a big race for him.

With half a mile to go, Jonny, in the lead, stumbled to the water station, on the verge of collapse.

Behind him, his brother Alistair was competing with South African Henri Schoeman for second place. Seeing his brother stumble, Alistair wrapped his arm around him to help him to the finish line – leaving Schoeman to race ahead and take first place.

Reaching the finish line, Alistair pushed his brother to cross the line ahead of him in second place – just as Jonny collapsed. Jonny was rushed to hospital with dehydration and is now well.

This story shows that it’s not all about winning; it’s about helping other people to succeed too.

What we spectators haven’t seen are the months of hard work and training ahead of the championships, the commitment and focus that Jonny will have undergone to tackle this potentially title-winning race. His brother will have been privy to all of this. That race will have meant an awful lot to him.

It is a shame that Schoeman didn’t have the same attitude as the Brownlees. His first place, having passed the brothers, cost Jonny the series title.

Whilst we assume that taking the top spot counts as success, in my opinion, his celebrating his first place finish showed a complete lack of humility. The Brownlee brothers were the most successful in that race – showing that family comes first, helping others comes first, and that winning isn’t the most important thing.

Would you really feel successful if you had clinched the top spot from a man who had collapsed and was being helped by his brother to the finish line? I don’t think I would.

The clip of the Brownlees highlights everything that’s great about sport and the values that sports promote.

Have you seen the clip of the brothers? Watch it below.


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