The Olympic coverage gave us more dramatic highlights in 16 days than a year of news, drama, reality shows and football. An integral sideshow to the events themselves was the seemingly relentless track-side interview by the lagubrious-hand-on-shoulder Phil. Athletes, whether in victorious ecstasy or abject misery, couldn’t avoid his questions.
” Can you describe how you feel?” Where do you go from here?” “Talk us through the race”. Not easy questions to answer on camera seconds after the race of your life, which you have just lost or won. What was very interesting was how many of them both wanted and were able to articulate “I did not execute” or “I executed” (the race just run)
Usain Bolt would describe precisely how he had maintained the drive phase from the blocks.
Jessica Ennis could relate detail of her best jump.
Mo Farrah seemingly was aware at every step of his position relative to his key rivals
The brilliant execution of their race strategies is not surprising, all have demonstrated perfection in their preparation for the ultimate competitive moment. What I found surprising , and most impressive, was that even in the moments of despair or ectasy, athletes had already critiqued their performances. For them a natural part of the constant search for improvement.
Is there a lesson here? Post -pitch the norm is a perfunctory ‘how did you think it went?’ then off to the pub/back to work. Perhaps a more forensic and immediate critique of ’how did we execute’ would pay dividends. It works for Usain.