What we can learn from the Olympics Tokyo 2020

Episode #1 Mind over body

Starring Jourdan Delacruz

Those who still had doubts (in 2021…) about the power of the mind and of how your mental well-being is essential for your body to function efficiently and for you to achieve pretty much anything in life, are most welcome to reflect on the fascinating, yet extremely sad, Olympic moment the world witnessed last Saturday starring the 23 year old American weightlifter Jourdan Delacruz. This young athlete, a two-time gold medalist at the Pan American Weightlifting Championships, was one of the favourites in competition, with a good story and a bright future.

It happened in the 49-kilogram division, when Delacruz could not convert any of her three lifts in the second of the two disciplines, the clean and jerk. She was attempting to lift 108kg, less than the 111kg she had proudly lifted in the Pan American Weightlifting Championships. What happened?

Even though “she was not really sure what happened”, as she stated in the interview room right after watching her competitors on the podium, everyone who is interested in mental health and was watching attentively will give you the same answer: her body was fit and well prepared, her mind sore.

Just before these three failed attempts, during the snatch round, Jourdan had raised the 89 kg barbell above her head and stood from her squat with little hesitation on her third attempt. She celebrated on the mat, holding her face in her hands and jumping into her coach’s arms for a hug. It was a personal victory. It was when judges declared the attempt a no-lift (ruling it a “press-out” because she bent her elbows while rising from her squad) that that same mat she fiercely jumped on in celebration was pulled out from under her feet.

Even though she finished the snatch rounds in third place (with an 86 kg lift on her second attempt) her eyes showed disappointment and a shaken self-confidence while she stepped the stage again to face the last round of the competition. But in that moment, only America believed in her, while she did not anymore. Can a whole country’s trust in you mean more than your own? Jourdan proved not. By dropping the bar on first attempt, letting the second one go behind her back and not being able to stand up from her squat on third attempt, she proved the world just how powerful the mind is.

Thank you Jourdan, for such an important lesson. You are worth much much more than you thought you did on Saturday, and, as you said “You live and learn”.


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