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

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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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COVID-19: Explosion at coronavirus testing centre near Amsterdam appears intentional, police say | World News

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A coronavirus testing location close to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam appears to have been intentionally targeted after an explosion before the site opened, police have said.

The blast in the town of Bovenkarspel, north of the capital, caused no injuries but shattered windows.

The explosive “must have been placed” there, a police spokesman said.

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COVID-19: Palestine’s vaccine rollout criticised as footballers and ministers get VIP treatment | World News

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Coronavirus vaccines meant for Palestinian medical workers have been administered to VIPs including ministers and the national football team, the country’s health ministry has admitted.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which runs parts of Gaza and the West Bank, confirmed details of the jab rollout after criticism from human rights and civil society groups, who urged an investigation.

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Palestinian health workers being vaccinated earlier this month
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Palestinian health workers being vaccinated earlier this month

In a statement, the health ministry said 10% of the 12,000 doses it received were given to the football team, ministers, presidential guards, and members of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee.

Another 200 doses went to the Jordanian royal court, after a request from Amman.

But defending the programme, it said the other 90% went to health workers treating COVID-19 cases in intensive care units and emergency departments, and health ministry staff.

Several Palestinian human rights and civil society groups had claimed the rollout was not transparent.

“The incoming information and testimonies point to ongoing cases where vaccines are obtained by several parties, in disregard of the principle of priority in distribution,” the groups said in a joint statement earlier this week.

The West Bank and Gaza, home to a combined 5.2 million Palestinians, have received around 34,700 coronavirus vaccine doses to date.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – who last month announced the first elections in 15 years – has long faced accusations of nepotism and cronyism.

The health ministry said the ministers and security officials who received vaccines were “in direct contact with the president and the prime minister”.

Others who got the jab were election officials – and the country’s football team needed vaccination certificates because they were travelling abroad “to represent Palestine in a match”.

Former Palestinian health minister Jawad Tibi receiving a dose of the vaccine last month
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Former Palestinian health minister Jawad Tibi receiving a dose of the vaccine last month

A 12-day lockdown for the West Bank was announced on Saturday after a surge in coronavirus cases.

On Tuesday, minister of health Dr Mai al-Kaila said there were 1,626 new cases in West Bank – which represents a continued upward trend – and 14 deaths recorded in same 24-hour period.

In Gaza, 98 new cases and two new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Vaccine donations have come from Israel and Russia, as well as 20,000 sent by the United Arab Emirates to Gaza.

The numbers lag far behind Israel, which has vaccinated more than one-third of its nine million people in one of the world’s fastest roll-outs.

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Jabs cause 94% drop in infections in Israel

Palestinians have accused Israel of ignoring its duties as an occupying power by not including them in its inoculation programme.

But Israeli officials have said that under the Oslo peace accords, the PA health ministry is responsible.

The Covax scheme, the global initiative to get vaccines to poorer nations, has yet to provide any for Palestinians but a delivery is expected this week.

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Australia’s attorney general reveals he is named in historical rape allegation | World News

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Australia’s attorney general Christian Porter has identified himself as the cabinet minister named in a historical rape allegation.

Mr Porter told a news conference in the city of Perth that he knew the woman as a teenager but that the alleged rape “simply did not happen”.

He said: “I can say categorically that what has been put in various forms in allegations simply did not happen.

“Nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened.”

The allegation was contained in an anonymous letter sent to the prime minister’s office in February.

The letter contained a statement from the complainant alleging a rape had occurred in the state of New South Wales in 1988, before Mr Porter entered politics.

The woman, who has not been publicly named, reported the allegation to police before taking her own life last year at the age of 49.

This week, New South Wales Police said there was “insufficient admissible evidence” to investigate and that the case was closed, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.

Mr Porter said he had waited until the police case was concluded before speaking, adding: “Staying silent, following the rules – a very difficult decision. I have been subject to the most wild, unrestrained allegations in Australian politics.”

Before a story last week by the ABC, “nobody in law enforcement or the law or politics or the media ever put any substance with any specific allegations to me at all”, he said.

But he also said he had been aware of a “whispering campaign” over the past few months.

Mr Porter was emotional as he said he would be taking a “short period of leave” to “assess and hopefully improve” his mental health.

He refused to stand down from his post, however, saying: “If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation. Every child we raise can have their lives destroyed by online reporting alone.

“My guess is that if I were to resign, and that were to set a new standard, there would be no need for an attorney general because there would be no rule of law left to protect in this country.”

On Monday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had forwarded the anonymous letter to the police, discussing the allegation with the federal police commissioner before deciding not to take any further action.

He said: “We can’t have a situation where the mere making of an allegation and that being publicised through the media is grounds for… governments to stand people down simply on the basis of that.”

But it comes just two weeks after Mr Morrison apologised in parliament to a former government staffer who said she was raped by a senior colleague in a minister’s office two years ago.

Brittany Higgins had initially not gone to the police because she was worried about her employment, but she reactivated her complaint after quitting her job in January.

The alleged rapist in this case has not been publicly named, but was fired for breaching security by taking Ms Higgins into a minister’s office after a night of heavy drinking.

Three other women have made sexual misconduct allegations against this man since she went public.

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