Monday, December 30, 2013
At the U.S. Olympic speed skating trials in Kearns, Utah, on Saturday, December 28, 2013, Jonathan Garcia skated a personal best. But his outstanding time in the 500 m was wiped out because he didnít wear the required ankle transponders. He was disqualified. "Iím not putting any blame on anybody." Garcia said. " I should have had them on. Itís nobodyís fault but mine that I didnít have them on." Still, a bitter error and a grievous disappointment.
The next day brought more Olympic trials, this time at 1000 m, double the previous distance. The competition was extremely tough, but Garcia simply focused on the task at hand. He gave it his all and did what he had trained to do. And on the second day he made the Olympic team. "Everyone cheered the gutsy performance turned in by Garcia. The Texan came back to finish fourth in the 1,000 at 1:07.96, good enough again to claim the first Olympic berth of his career. This time it counted."
I whooped and called out, "Listen to this!" when I heard an interview with Jonathan Garcia after he qualified for the 1,000 m Olympic speed skating. The reporter congratulated Garcia for being able to get past the failure and frustration of having been disqualified the previous day, to go on and do what he had to do to make the Olympic team. She asked how he was able to distance himself mentally from being disqualified, to take it off his mind enough to turn in such an outstanding performance. Garcia grinned and said, "What, I got disqualified yesterday???" It was his humorous way of saying just how much he had let it go; he had put it t of his mind entirely! Garcia's jest reflects the reality of disciplined focus, persistence, and inner strength. The skater went on to explain that he knew that his skating had been fast enough to qualify. He knew he deserved to be on the Olympic team.
Jonathan Garcia had a painful disappointment, a stunning setback. But his outlook focused on objective facts, that he had the ability to succeed. Then he focused on the task and did not allow emotions of regret or self-pity or frustration to interfere with simply getting the job done.