When I grow up, I want to be Jordyn Wieber
“It’s not how far you fall but how high you bounce that counts” -Zig Ziglar
Fine. I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to the Olympics.
I LOVE watching our country compete in anything and the Olympics create this unique, high-tension environment where everyone is watching and Gold is on the line.
Say what you want abut NBC, they are dominating my DVR right now. (I recorded the weight-lifting championships yesterday!)
I even get into Women’s Gymnastics.
I’m a 27-year-old, testosterone-filled meat-head and I like watching our girls flip around on balance beam, uneven bars, vault, and floor routine. Don’t judge me. Blame it on Kerri Strugg. I was 12 when she stuck that vault in ’96 a few miles away from where I was sitting. I’ve watched ever since.
So, it should come as no surprise that I was watching this past weekend and I was watching last night when our girls, the so-called Fab Five, were competing. I’m not a sports reporter and I know a little-more-than-nothing about Gymnastics (I’m 6 foot freaking 7), so I will leave the details and superlatives to the experts.
What I do know is courage and toughness.
It’s the double-edged sword of sports that we can see the best and worst about us. You can know some of the most extreme highs and intense lows through competition, and sometimes they happen in the same week.
Enter Jordyn Wieber.
Wieber, as I am told, is the defending world champion in the individual competition. In my basic understanding of the sport, that means she is the best all-around gymnast on the planet.
In the Olympics, girls compete on the team level and individual level. Their qualifying scores from this weekend determined who would qualify for the individual finals and which teams would qualify for the team finals. Through a quirk of the Olympic rules, only two girls from any one country can qualify for the individual finals. So, even if the U.S. has 4 of the top 5 gymnasts on the planet (which I am told is true this year) only two of the four can qualify for the individual finals in the Olympics.
Again, I will leave the drama and sportscasting to the pros, but Wieber ended up placing third or fourth of all girls and two other Americans placed ahead of her.
The reigning world champion did not qualify for the individual finals.
NBC made sure to get a ton of close-ups of her sobbing into her hands as soon as she learned she wouldn’t qualify and in one particularly torturous shot they showed the U.S. teammate that beat her in the foreground as she was crying in the background. (Sometimes I think you have no soul, NBC.)
But Wieber’s Olympics weren’t over. She still needed to compete for the team title for the U.S.
Long story short, she did so last night and led our girls to their first gold medal since the aforementioned Strugg killed it in ’96. She was terrific. She was the team leader and maybe the best performer in the gym last night in London. Knowing that all personal accolades were gone and any individual medals were hopeless, she still went out and crushed it and led our country to a gold medal.
Cool story. Queue the epic music. Wave the flag. And so on.
Yeah, I was proud of her and proud of my country. But more than that, I was motivated. Whatever Wieber has inside of her, I want that.
You may wonder what Olympics gymnastics has to do with commercial property in Atlanta.
Well, you may have noticed that the last 5 or so years in our economy haven’t been so great. We aren’t exactly sailing smoothly. Some of the greatest names in our business in the last 20 years have retired, gone bankrupt, or just folded and drifted away.
We are an industry that literally built the city of Atlanta. Yeah, we have Coke, Home Depot, UPS, and some other cool businesses here. But, at our heart, we are a commercial real estate city. We led all major U.S. cities in growth over the last 10 years (prior to ’08-’09).
Our industry was home to the leaders and innovators in a great city heading for great things.
Then 2008 came along. We got hit. We got black eyes. We lost momentum, time, and money.We lost chances at greatness. No doubt about it.
But if little Jordyn Wieber can find the strength and courage to do what she did last night, why can’t we?
Ours is a city filled with brilliant and talented people who have all been hurt by this Great Recession. Some of us have wanted to sulk into a corner and cry (and some of us have).
But, you know what?
The sun came up this morning. Today is a new day. Tomorrow is full of promise.
And we still have something worth fighting for.
This is a great city with a bright future and I’m excited to see where we can go. We have our issues to work out and demons to overcome, but we can be great and we just need another chance to show it.
Maybe you went bankrupt. Maybe you damaged your reputation. Maybe some great relationships have come to an end. Maybe you lost your life savings. Maybe some dreams died.
Cry. Get upset. Get angry.
And then move on.
We have some great things we still need to do around here, and our teammates need us to step up.
So, here is a toast to Jordyn Wieber and a toast to all of us. She showed us what we all need to do after a crushing blow. Move on, keep competing, and act like the best.
Do that . . . and greatness will never be far away.