Elise Christie has had yet another Olympic Games to forget after she was disqualified from her 1000m short track heat. The event was her last hope of picking up a medal at the Pyeongchang winter games this week. This comes after being disqualified from all three events in the previous winter Olympics held in Sochi, 2014. This means that out of the six olympic events she’s ever competed in she’s either fallen or been disqualified.
Elise fell during the 500m final after a collision attempting to move into a medal place, she then crashed during her 1500m and discovered she had damaged ankle ligaments after being carried off the ice. Despite her ligament damage she managed to finish second in the 100m short track heat only to find out she had been disqualified by race judges. The BBC have described her as “one of the unluckiest Olympians” and maybe she is cursed to never pick up an Olympic medal.
However, after seeing her story I got thinking about how many other athletes have come back from failures in their career to go on to be great champions. Here are some of the greatest athletes/teams at their respective sports that have failed yet gone on to become a great.
One of my favourite sporting quotes comes from Michael Jordan during an advertisement for Nike. Check out the advert in the link below. In the ad Jordan speaks about the amount of times he could have won his team the game but didn’t, how often he missed free-throws, as well as how many times he lost in his career. He goes on to cite that as the reason for his success. Michael Jordan is regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time despite his failures mentioned in the ad and even being cut from his high school basketball team in his sophomore year.
The story of the Oakland A’s 2002 history making season was adapted into the 2011 film “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane (below). If you haven’t seen it then trust me, watch it. Oakland had an extremely limited payroll to finance the playing squad and was facing the departure of key players. However with the addition of a new recruiting technique the A’s managed to break the record for longest winning streak of 20 games in a row, beating the New York yankees 19 win streak from the 1947 season.
Every other franchise had failed to beat this record for 55 years and if you offered most people a fiver on The A’s to be the team to beat it you wouldn’t have got many takers. A sub-plot of this story General Manager Billy Beane. As a young kid and at the start of his playing career, Billy was seen as a potential great, but failed to make an impact on the game, he did however, go on to lead The A’s to their record breaking season.
Jamie is perhaps one of the more well known “rags to riches” stories in recent years after his meteoric rise to success. Before winning the Premier League with Leicester, earning call ups for England and breaking the all time Premier League record for the most consecutive games scored in, Jamie was rejected by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 16. With the hunger and desire Jamie possessed, he turned a failure into success and rose through the leagues to become a huge success and made a fantastic career for himself with the accolades to match.
Just these three stories alone show that success in sport isn’t easy, it isn’t handed to you on a plate, you have to earn it, you have to show resilience and return stronger from failure. So hopefully Elise Christie will find some inspiration from other sporting greats and go on to pick up the olympic medal she so desperately wants at the next winter Olympic Games in Beijing.