Have you ever heard of Hidilyn Diaz?
She’s a weightlifter from the Philippines. I hadn’t heard of her until the Olympics.
One of the best things about the Games (beyond watching the amazing athletes in action) are the inspirational stories, don’t you agree?
Hidilyn’s story is one of my favorites.
Talk about an underdog. Basically, everything was stacked against her.
When she was young and just starting out in weightlifting, she didn’t even have any actual weights to train with or lift.
So she used plastic pipes and concrete blocks as her weights, and later “graduated” to duffel bags stuffed with water jugs.
She would do pull-ups on door frames, sprint up parking ramps, and basically find any way she could to build strength using what she had on hand.
When she was 17, she made the country’s Olympic team and competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She went on to earn a silver medal in Rio in 2016.
Then just as she was set to qualify for the 2020 games, a Covid-related travel ban kept her stuck in Malaysia for 5 months, without a facility to train in.
But that didn’t stop her.
She built a gym and made her own lifting equipment out of bamboo sticks and water bottles. Physically, she was ready to go.
But when she reached Tokyo, she was nervous.
She had to get her head in the right place.
Her strategy? To let go of the “details” ... like her recovery and strategy. She let her coaches handle all that. She trusted them and knew she was being guided in the right direction.
Instead, she focused only on the things SHE actually had control over.
“Let me focus on the things I can do, which is for me, is to lift the weight, focus on my technique, and do everything I can do,” she said.
Not only did she win a gold medal, but she set an Olympic record in the 55kg category, lifting a combined 224 kilograms.
Pretty incredible story. For me, there were three major takeaways:
Don’t wait until everything’s perfect to begin.
Work hard and be consistent ... no matter what.
A great coach/support system is EVERYTHING to help you reach your goals.
It’s pretty simple when you boil it down and eliminate any obstacles that can get in your way.
If a young girl could begin her journey to the Olympics with plastic pipes and concrete blocks …
We can all take that first step towards our goals without any excuses.
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