Olympic Success at 17? How’d She Do That?

Lydia Jacoby set a record yesterday when she took home the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke competition.

As we like to say at TotalCareerGrowth.com, “Holy crap. How’d she do that?”

You grow up in a small town with only a population of 2700. It is two hours to the nearest big town.

You live in Alaska that had never produced an Olympic swimmer.

Your hometown pool was not Olympic size. You won’t swim in a regulation pool until you compete.

Then the pandemic strikes, closing pools around the world.

You lift weights and do what you can but eventually move 2 hours away to have access to a pool.

You have never competed in an international swimming event prior to the Olympic trials.

You were ranked 15th prior to the trials.

Imagine, putting all of that behind you, swimming your best, and making the team.

Then imagine that you are now competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling?

Unfortunately, you are in the middle of a pandemic and your family and friends cannot attend the games.

Now imagine that you are just 17 years old and only a senior in high school. Your competitors are all older than you, have more experience, and honed their skills better.

Read more about Lydia and how she prepared.

Now let’s take it up a notch.

You swam well in the semifinals and now are in the final.

Your competition is one of your idols and the current Olympic gold medal winner.

  • What would you be thinking?
  • What are you feeling?
  • How hard did you have had to work to get to this point?
  • What was your schedule?
  • At what point would you have given up hope?
  • At what point would you have quit?

Realize that the press is focusing on your competitor and teammate, Lily King to repeat as champion.

They compliment you but never mention you as a contender for the gold.

Then you swim your race, touch the wall at the finish and raise your head out of the water.

You look at the scoreboard and see your name in first place.

  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling?

Lydia Jacoby didn’t quit.

She did what many never thought possible. She upset the world champion and the rest of the world competition to win.

Watch her interview following her win.

She won because she didn’t think small. Despite her surroundings, she dreamed big. She worked hard, reaching higher and higher even when many dismissed her potential to win. It was then that she surprised almost everyone and won.

While you are not likely training for an Olympic gold medal, you do have incredible opportunities.

Whenever your circumstances, think bigger.

Whenever someone doubts, reach higher.

Despite the odds, set your sites on the impossible.




Loren Murfield, PhD

I work with leaders and entrepreneurs in small business, sales, and Real Estate to think bigger and reach higher to find their breakthrough success. Contact me to begin thinking bigger.

Want to hear about more incredible stories? Check out our latest podcast where we discuss how they build the Bell Rock Lighthouse even though it was only above water for a short time each day.

Total Career Growth

One thought on “Olympic Success at 17? How’d She Do That?

Leave a Reply