In the previous post I recommended Sir John Whitmore&‘s book, Coaching For Performance, to any true student of performance improvement.
It’s a fabulous, easy-to-read book and I often refer to it for coaching inspiration. Not least because the author acknowledges the contributions of his friend and colleague, David Hemery, the 1968 Olympic 400m Hurdles Champion.
David Hemery was my inspiration as an athlete, starting from around 1972, even though I’ve only vague memories of tha 1968 Mexico final when he surprised everyone with an enormous winning margin, and a new world record (40 years later only a few British athletes have ever run faster.)
Why does he inspire me so much?
Well, as a role model for developing your talents I admire what he’s achieved publicly, athletically, academically and professionally.
Here’s a brief David Hemery bio from the Performance Consultants company he’s part of, along with Sir John Whitmore.
As to David Hemery’s private life, I know only what he chose to publish in his 1976 autobiography, Another Hurdle, which includes some awe-inspiring descriptions of tough, painful workouts he did under the watchful eye of his coach through cold Boston winters.
Quite incredible stuff. I used to call him The last of the Corinthians because he was of a generation where UK track and field athletes, even at the highest level, received very, very little financial rewards (probably their bus fares!) He had a true, genuine love for his sport and a burning belief to find out what he was capable of.
Everyone has within them their own Olympic Gold medal.
And in that sentence is the essence of why David Hemery is my performance coaching champion. (I think it was also the theme of his biography’s final chapter.)
I believe this is much more than a well-intentioned sentiment and is in fact a literal truth (go search for my post on the motto of the Outward Bound founder, Kurt Hahn, for a related perspective.)
We’ve talents that lie dormant throughout our lives while others are in various states of development.
I believe the challenge of living is to find those that inspire and gladden our hearts and then to make use of them for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Do you have a performance coaching champion?
If not, find one.
(He/she doesn’t have to be someone from the world of sports.)