Why I beat Carl Lewis in Israel

Remember Carl Lewis? 9 time golf medal winner at the Olympics. He is in Israel this week, promoting a speedy communications service, launched by the national company, Bezeq.

It’s a quaint number. The world is spinning faster by the day. And Lewis neatly represents that dynamic. The CEO of Bezeq claimed that they are using the Lewis brand, because he symbolises the determination needed to produce a consistently strong set of results. Again – cute.

Whatever it is, Lewis was in town to motivate his audience. And I am sure he was a popular speaker.

However, during the evening news last night, an interview with Lewis revealed another and far more important side to his character. He spoke about school reunions. It turns out that Carl Lewis was not known as a strong nor competitive kid. He describes how incredulous his fellow students are, when they discuss what he has grown up to achieve.  

And that is when I got to do some thinking on my own. I am about the same age as Lewis. I loved sport at school, but was a chubby kid. I was always picked last for teams, and I guess it hurt. Around my early teens, I put aside my trainers.

Over the past decade, I have taken up a variety of outdoor activities. Slowly but surely, I have pushed my boundaries and shown what I am capable of doing. Even a little bit of “extreme” has been thrown in this year.

Back in July, I spent 10 days in the area, where I grew up. During the stay, I did not give up on my daily routine. I walked and I jogged. In fact, I ran around my old school premises – two days in succession. If you ask me, I bet I was secretly hoping that some of my former teachers were looking on.

What’s my message? I always knew that it was important for me to do well in sports, both in terms of health and self-achievement. Yet nobody encouraged me in those days.  What I had to learn over decades was that doing well is not always equivalent to being the best in the best team.

I am proud of my self – motivation. And it is that drive which I take through into my professional life as well.

If Carl Lewis were to join me on my run tomorrow morning near Jerusalem, I have no doubt he would finish quicker, and with less puffing or cursing. But in terms of personal achievement and individual development, there is no doubt in my mind who would be pesented with the medal.

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