Olympic Story Telling
It should hardly have mattered to me when Grenada’s Kirani James broke ahead of the crowd flying toward the finish line of the Olympic Men’s 400 meter race. But there I was out of my chair yelling at the television as if my cheers could give him an extra push.
Not that he needed it. He easily broke the tape on his own impressive power with a time just tenths of a second off a world record.
I’d never heard of Kirani James before this week, he’s not from my country and I don’t have a particular affinity for men’s racing let alone the 400. So what gives? Why did I care if he won?
It’s his story.
He’s from a country which hadn’t won a medal. And, he’s a nice guy. After sweeping into the top spot during the semifinals, his first move was to trade name bibs with another runner who has no legs. Yes, that’s another great story. That would be South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius who runs on prosthetic limbs.
Pistorius remarkably ran his way into the semifinals, but ended up last in the heat. He looked somber, perhaps disappointed at the finish line as Kirani celebrated his easy win. Abruptly, Kirani came over and to exchange bibs, something rarely done. James later said that’s just the kind of sportsman he is.
Maybe the other guys in the race are nice guys too, but honestly, I hadn’t heard much about their stories.
Your story matters. It’s what will draw people to you. You don’t have to make it up, although you may need to uncover it. People often don’t have a good understanding of their own stories, or they don’t know what parts of it will most appeal to those they want to reach. Instead, they hide behind fancy marketing and shiny branding that doesn’t really resonate.
Next week I’ll talk more about how to discover your story.
Meanwhile, what’s your favorite Olympic story?