For most athletes retiring and their Olympic sport, these next few months can be a time of feeling lost and alone. Until the closing ceremonies in Tokyo, medalists and qualifiers previously knew what their job was. Now - "What's my purpose?" bounces around in their brain (and body) like a balloon on a windy day.
From personal experience, my post-Olympic experience was a long, insidious slide into feeling lost. Heck, it was only this year, I finally wrote a book to summarize that feeling. While the rest of us carry on with our lives, retiring athletes generally feel some form of being untethered.
In addition, the I.O.C. just upgraded their motto to “Swifter, Higher, Stronger - Together." Ah yes, together. Does this ring true for you too?
Athletes either have individual pursuits (skiing, gymnastics, pole vault, wrestling) or team pursuits (hockey, water polo, volleyball). In both cases, you're still one athlete trying to get better in your sport. But, when the lady of a larger persuasion sings, there's not team, no organization, no nothing. It's a void of "meh."
If you know an athlete who competed in the Olympics, or a newly minted army veteran, or a person who retired from their job, reach out and check in with them. Include them in your plans. Co-create a project. Find out what the athlete's passion is and introduce them to that special someone in your network who shares the same values.
Let's remember the pursuit of swifter, higher, stronger excellence is best achieved together!