Some of my favourite memories of the 2012 Olympics Games come from a series of videos that Canadian Rick Hanson has hosted, called The Difference Makers. We all know WHAT’s behind these Olympic athletes’ stellar performances that ultimately get them on the Olympic podium – years of sacrifice and hard work. What we often don’t get to know is WHO is behind these Olympic athletes. Rick Hanson has done a marvelous job introducing the Canadian public to some of the remarkable people who have supported and loved the athletes through the inevitable mountain high and valley low experiences of elite, competitive sport.
I like that…because everyone needs a bit of help.
I was very moved when I watched one particular video about the working relationship and loving friendship between triathletes, Simon Whitfield and Colin Jenkins.Their unique preparation for the Beijing Olympics four years ago fueled Simon’s passion to go for a medal in these 2012 Olympics.
“Simon’s silver medal in Beijing represented innovation – the result of two triathletes racing, not as individuals but as a team for the first time in Olympic history. Simon helped reinvent the triathlon, shifting the sport’s focus from lone wolf to team. He found a teammate who could be his domestique, who was willing to dedicate his life to the sport with the understanding that his sole purpose was to help Simon win a medal for Canada.”
Twenty-five year old Colin Jenkins was that man. Simon affectionally attributed these attributes to Colin – “No glory, all guts.”
Simon finished second in the 2004 Olympic Triathlon. Colin finished dead last – one of the greatest 50th place finishes in Olympic history – but he did his job. Simon called it, “the quiet execution of a heavy workload.”
Colin was willing to help someone else succeed and get all the credit. No question – he was a difference maker in Simon Whitfield’s sport career. Simon’s victory medal was celebrated by both men because Simon didn’t get to the top by himself.
The fight is won, not under the lights but in the gym, in the dark, in the rain and Colin understood that. He knows that those were definitely the days that the silver medal was won. It belongs to both of us.
That’s easy for Simon to say – the world and the record books see the silver medal around HIS neck.
It took great integrity and huge humility to be Colin Jenkins. No glory…just the daily grind of hard work. He was the silent partner…the wind beneath someone else’s wings.
It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. Harry S. Truman