The record-breaking achievements we have seen from the athletes in Rio is down to ensuring the right support team are around them, helping to create the best environment in which they can succeed. Looking back over the last 2 weeks provides a great chance to explore the different characters who contribute to the phenomenal performance of Team GB.
The Experts – those who can share their experience, providing advice and the chance to refine and perfect technique. Jessica Ennis’s improvement in the javelin over the last 4 years has been helped with the inclusion of former Olympian, Mick Hill, on her coaching team.
The Selectors – setting the standards and assessing who is good enough to receive the rewards. The gold medal winning men’s cycling pursuit team had to make the tough decision not to include the reserve, Mark Cavendish, in any of the heats, instead choosing to stick with the same team of 4 through each round.
The Motivators – the people who shout and provide encouragement from the side lines to keep the energy levels high. As well as the crowds of fans shouting from the stadium, the substitutes, bench players and coaches all added a vital boost to the women’s hockey team throughout the tense final and penalty shootout.
The Mavericks – those who enjoy the show and encourage flair and creativity. Bradley Wiggins doesn’t necessarily embody the stereotypical omnium cyclist with his physique, but he certainly enjoys the show and revels in the Olympic environment and atmosphere.
The Supporters – providing an audience and showing appreciation for a job well done. The public are a huge part of this but other members of Team GB made the effort to show their support for the different sports and it was clear to see the appreciation on Bradley Wiggins face when Steve Redgrave came down to the velodrome to share in the moment he passed him in the number of Olympic medals won.
The Carers – those who can connect deeply to provide support and reassurance when confidence levels fall. In that initial moment when Greg Rutherford was so disappointed in missing out on a second Olympic gold medal BBC reporter Phil Jones was there to provide kind words and help him see the great achievement in winning a bronze in such an exciting long jump final.
The Rule Keepers – the people who stop the rules being broken and ensure fair play. This was the first Olympics where athletes broke the omertá, or silence around talking about doping in sport. Without the no compromise stance taken by WADA and some of the sports federations in policing and upholding the rules a great deal of trust is eroded, damaging the games for everyone, athletes and fans alike.
The Organisers – the lovers of logistics and planning that ensure the schedules are followed. Behind the scenes the unsung and often anonymous heroes are at play, the team managers and back room staff who make sure the athletes are in the right place, at the right time with the right equipment.
All of these are essential and ensure we get to celebrate the best sport has to offer. Some people can play multiple characters, in other teams it’s down to finding the right mix and ensuring they are all there. Without all the different things these characters bring to the team, sport would be less exciting and much less enjoyable.
Thinking about a team you are part of - what role do you play and who are the different characters that contribute to your success?