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The Olympics and what they can teach us about how to win in life



The Olympics are captivating the world like they do every two years. The stories of athletes overcoming challenges are inspiring, the support of their families is heartwarming and the success some have is momentous.

But most do not win a medal.

There are 2,952 athletes from 92 countries. They compete in 102 events. There are only 306 medals to be won. When you factor in multiple winners of medals only about one in ten athletes will win.

But the ten percent who actually win medals are an example to us. They show us what is possible. They model for us the qualities needed to win in sports – and in life.

Discipline Yourself

Self-discipline is doing what you have to do, doing it as well as you can and doing it that way all the time. Athletes deny themselves many things in order to gain a greater prize. Olympic champions practice this all the time. They know that any loss of focus can cost them their ultimate goal.

Skier Mikaela Shiffrin has stayed off social media since before the Olympics began. She did not want any distractions to keep her from winning. And in her first race, the Giant Slalom, she won a gold medal. Mikaela said, “I haven’t been looking at what people are saying. So I’ve really been away from that a bit and that helps a lot.”

Nathan Chen entered the Olympics as a favorite for the gold. In his short program he fell on every single jump. In his long program he landed six quadruple jumps, a feat never before accomplished at the Olympics. Chen may not have earned a medal but in setting records he overcame his failure.

There is a price to be paid for success. Sacrifices must be made. Snowboarder Chloe Kim and her family had to drive 5.5 hours one way from their Southern California home to Mammoth Mountain for her to train. But the result of her sacrifice is that at just 17 she won the Women’s Snowboarding Halfpipe gold medal.

When you demand of yourself anything and everything you become a winner. Avoiding those temptations that will hinder your effectiveness takes discipline. In order to reach your goals, sacrifices will have to be made time and time again. When times get tough, as they inevitably will, it is your self-discipline that will make the difference.

Be Committed

Successful people are just ordinary people who make commitments others are unwilling to make. Olympic champions have fully commited to their sport. Their will to succeed is what makes them distinct.

Shaun White won the Men’s Snowboarding Halfpipe gold medal last Wednesday. It was his third snowboarding gold medal, making him, once again, an Olympic champion. But he was not the Olympic champion at the 2014 Sochi Games. In fact, he came in fourth place.

He admitted later that he was not fully committed to the sport. He was touring with his band Bad Things and doing more than he ever had away from the sport.

He then recommitted to his Olympic dream. He began working out training off the snow for the first time in his career.

He also changed the team around him, getting a new coach, manager, publicist and physical therapist. He rediscovered his love for the sport once he fully committed.

Too many give up or quit when they face obstacles or experience disappointments. They take the path of least resistance and never experience victory. Commitment means doing whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to ultimately succeed.

Overcome Failure

Everyone fails. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Lindsey Vonn is one of the greatest women’s skiers of all-time. She skied a great race in her first event at the Olympics. But she made a mistake on one turn and ended up in sixth place in the Super-G.

Even the best fail at times. She will get another chance in the downhill race. If she wins it will be because Vonn was able to overcome her earlier failure. Failure is inevitable – it is how you handle it that determines whether you win or lose.

Failure is simply feedback. It tells us what did not work and that we require a new approach. We need to fail forward. So we can learn from our mistakes and do better in the future.

Nathan Chen is the reigning male American figure skating champion. He entered the Olympics as a favorite for the gold. In his short program he fell on every single jump. He scored so poorly he ended up in 17th place, eliminating him from medal contention.

In his long program he landed six quadruple jumps, a feat never before accomplished at the Olympics. His technical score was the highest ever achieved by a male skater in any Olympics. Chen may not have earned a medal but in setting records he overcame his failure.

These Olympic winners are inspiring. They show us what can be accomplished when we strive to do our best. Let their example motivate you to achieve your dreams.

Rick McDaniel is the author of the recently released book “Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks.” He is also the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, VA. You can find him on Twitter at @rickmcdaniel. 

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China’s president Xi Jinping says the world must co-operate on climate change | World News



China’s president has said the world needs to work together to balance economic development and the destruction of the natural world.

It comes just a week after Xi Jinping promised China – the world’s worst polluter and an economic super power – would be carbon neutral by 2060.

In another landmark speech, he told the UN biodiversity summit: “At present there exists an acceleration of the global extinction of species.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured in his pre-recorded UN address
It was the president’s second recent pre-recorded UN address

“The loss of biodiversity and degradation of the ecosystem pose a major risk to human survival and development.

“It falls to all of us to act together. We need to respect nature, follow its laws and protect it. We need to find a way for man and nature to live in harmony and balance and coordinate economic development and ecological protection.”

It came as a new study by the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London collated the findings of 210 scientists from 42 countries.

They estimated forty per cent of plant species are at risk of extinction, hundreds of medicinal plants are threatened and only a tiny fraction of plants are being used for food and fuel.

Professor Phil Stevenson told Sky News: “The attention that is being drawn to biodiversity loss at high levels around the world I think is a really positive thing.

“This report will provide those decision makers, and also individuals at home, with new information and more information on making better decisions about conserving the diversity of plants and funghi.”

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It seems hard to re-imagine China as a champion of climate change and biodiversity given the environmental devastation caused by its break-neck speed of economic transformation. So has China really turned over a new leaf?

Isabel Hilton, CEO of China Dialogue, said: “On the analogy of the prodigal son, isn’t it better that China has got to the point of understanding how damaging its previous policies were, and is now exerting leadership in a number of ways.”

It’s easy to make promises but the world will be watching to see whether those with the power actually make a difference on biodiversity and climate change.

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US presidential debate: ‘A wild ride’ for Pennsylvania viewers | World News



Much of America stayed at home to watch the big debate.

“The home schooling’s keeping them in,” explained Mike McCloskey, owner of the Railroad Street Bar & Grill in Linfield, Pennsylvania. “Teaching kids in the morning is even harder after a hard night.”

First US presidential debate – highlights

It didn’t prevent a sprinkling of the politically-attuned gathering in this self-styled “upbeat hub for brews,” by the Norfolk Southern rail line that runs freight through their swing state.

In the United States, they say if you don’t win Pennsylvania, you don’t win the country.

After an hour and a half of watching the debate, the verdict in Linfield favoured Donald Trump, albeit not unanimously.

Colleen Dougherty said Mr Trump 'owned' the debate
Colleen Dougherty said Mr Trump ‘owned’ the debate
John Lappin said Mr Trump 'is a leader of our country. It really isn't much more difficult than that'
John Lappin said Mr Trump ‘is a leader of our country. It really isn’t much more difficult than that’

Colleen Dougherty told Sky News: “I think that Donald Trump owned this. I don’t think that Joe Biden really had anything to really bring to the table. I was really hoping that he would. And we didn’t really have anything.”

John Lappin saw Mr Trump as the victor. He said: “One came with a piece of paper in front of them that can only read from that. The other one is a leader of our country. It really isn’t much more difficult than that.

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Others didn’t declare a clear winner, but did see a loser – the voting public.

Meredith Warren said: “This is terrible, all around. This is very upsetting to watch, but this is the best representation for our country right now. I think they’re both little kids going back and forth to each other. They didn’t answer any questions.”

Meredith Warren called it 'terrible, all around' and 'very upsetting to watch'
Meredith Warren called it ‘terrible, all around’ and ‘very upsetting to watch’
Watching the presidential debate in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is seen by many as an election bellwether

Mr McCloskey added: “It was a wild ride, it went right, it went left. There was a lot going on, there was a lot of interruption.

“Right now, watching that, I would feel really bad for the American people. Because there was no order. It was all over the place. And I understand why people look at us as a laughing stock. I don’t believe anybody won that debate.”

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Democratic Republic of Congo: More than 50 women allege abuse by Ebola aid workers | UK News



More than 50 women have alleged that they have been sexually abused or exploited in the Democratic Republic of Congo by Ebola aid workers who said they were from some of the world’s top humanitarian organisations.

The allegations centre around the town of Beni, one of the epicentres of the country’s 10th and most deadly Ebola outbreak which started in 2018.

In an interview, 51 women recounted multiple incidents of abuse and claimed the men who exploited them identified themselves as being with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, World Vision, medical charity Alima and the UN’s migration agency, IOM.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. File pic
The Ebola outbreak badly affected eastern areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. File pic

The allegations follow a joint investigation by The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The majority of women said they were plied with drinks, others ambushed in offices and hospitals, and some locked in rooms by men who promised jobs or threatened to fire them if they did not comply.

“So many women were affected by this,” said one 44-year-old woman, who explained that to get a job she had to have sex with a man who said he was a WHO worker.

She and the other women spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

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“I can’t think of someone who worked in the response who didn’t have to offer something,” she added.

Some women were cooks, cleaners and community outreach workers hired on short-term contracts, earning $50 to $100 (£40 to £80) a month – more than twice the normal wage.

At least two women said they became pregnant and others said the abuse occurred as recently as March.

The number and similarity of many of the accounts from women in the eastern city of Beni suggest the practice was widespread, with three organisations vowing to investigate the accusations.

UN secretary-general António Guterres called for the allegations to be “investigated fully”.

The WHO said it was investigating the allegations, affirming that it had a “zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse”.

“The actions allegedly perpetrated by individuals identifying themselves as working for WHO are unacceptable and will be robustly investigated,” it said in a statement.

“The betrayal of people in the communities we serve is reprehensible and we do not tolerate such behaviour in any of our staff, contractors or partners.

“Anyone identified as being involved will be held to account and face serious consequences, including immediate dismissal.”

Following the allegations against WHO, a Foreign Office spokesperson, said: “Sexual exploitation and abuse are completely abhorrent. We regularly assess all of our partners against the highest safeguarding standards and expect thorough investigations whenever allegations are made.

“The World Health Organisation has confirmed it is urgently investigating these allegations. We will scrutinise their findings closely.”

Spokespeople for IOM, MSF, UNICEF and DRC’s health ministry told both agencies in mid-September they did not know about the accusations before they were presented to them and several said they would need more information to take action.

Oxfam said it does “everything in our power to prevent misconduct and to investigate and act on allegations when they arise, including supporting survivors”.

Meanwhile, an Alima spokesperson said that after investigations earlier this year, two employees were dismissed for sexual harassment and that they had launched a new investigation after the recent reporting.

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