Question: How would you feel if you lost an Olympic Gold Medal by two-thousandths of a second? You probably wonder, “How could they measure that closely?” Mathematically speaking, the distance you can swim in two-thousandths of a second is about the thickness of a coat of paint or about one-tenth of the time of a typical eye blink. To have worked years and years and to have been so close to the ultimate prize and yet miss it by that length of time in a four hundred meter individual medley, must have been a difficult pill to swallow.
That very thing happened to American swimmer Tim McKee. The event took place in the 1972 Olympics in Munich when Olympic swimming timing had just “converted from stopwatches to the use of electronic touchpads.” At that time stopwatches were “still sliced no finer than a hundredth of a second,” but the just-installed electronic touchpads could measure the distance to the thousandths of a second. McKee had tied for first place with Gunnar Larsson of Sweden to the hundredth of a second, according to the stopwatch, but lost by two thousandths of a second, according to the electronic touchpad.
To make the matter even worse, at the meet in Los Angeles in 1984, gold medals were awarded to both swimmers who had tied to the hundredth of a second. I’m certain the disappointment was intense for Tim McKee, but in life we have many disappointments. Those who go on to greater things dwell on the disappointments briefly and then move on. Tim realized that his entire life was still in front of him and whether he won or lost the gold medal he would always have his innate ability, drive, character, determination, love, commitment, responsibility, and all of the other things that help make him successful in life. He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
I hope you decide to make your disappointments a springboard on your journey to the top. SEE YOU AT THE TOP!