Leadership in Sports
An individual has to possess vigor and train hard to be in professional sport. However, it is not enough to become a champion. To succeed in achieving one’s professional goals, athletes should have strong leadership skills, such as willpower, devotion to duty, self-confidence, ambition, and determination. Jesse Owens is a great example of moral strength, which, in combination with natural talent and discipline, led him to the triumph at the Berlin Olympics. His story helps to explore the issue of leadership in sports known from project paper.
Jesse Owens is a famous track-and-field athlete who became a legend of the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics. He won the 100 and 200 meters sprints, the long jump, and the 4*100 meters relay as the part of the U.S. team. He won four gold medals setting a world record, which stood for 48 years. Owens disproved the Nazi’s propagandistic concepts of the supremacy of the Aryan nation and the inferiority of others with his victory. A year before the triumph at the Olympics, Owens set three world records in Michigan in the span of 45 minutes. Jesse’s dedication, ambition, and determination helped him to excel in sports in spite of the countless obstacles, among which were racial prejudice, poverty, and political realities of those times.
Stephen Hopkins’s film Race shows the socio-political situation in Germany and the USA, Jesse’s Owens life story and demonstrates the importance of willpower and determination necessary to become a professional athlete. Jesse discovered his talent and passion early enough; he set a goal and strived for it. All his efforts and actions were dedicated to one purpose, participating in sports competitions and winning. He chose the university only because of the coach, Larry Snyder, whose attention he eventually managed to catch. There, Jessie started to train hard while taking various jobs to provide for his family. Owens’ love for sports pushed him further in his achievements withstanding offensive comments, hard work, and social pressure.
The example of Jesse Owens, as well as many other decorated athletes, demonstrates that sport attracts leaders. Leadership in sports begins with love and dedication to one’s profession since their childhood. Sports require focus and absolute commitment, which may come only from high ambitions and big dreams. Those who want to succeed in sports should also be visionaries, who believe in their dream and know they can push the limits and break the records. They also should know how to use their physique to the maximum, which requires great discipline, rigor, and passion. Sportspeople usually know what they want to do with their lives and take them under their control. For example, as it happened with Jesse when he opted for the university in order to be closer to the great coach; later, he chose not to be involved in political games and concentrated on his professional activity instead. As a result, sports ask people to make great sacrifices because sportspeople understand the price of success and pay it willingly.
Usually, the audience sees only triumphal moments of athletes’ greatest achievements. Nobody knows how much hard work and how many failures preceded one particular victory. A necessary trait of an athlete is to push further no matter what and face criticism with dignity. Everything comes with a price and challenges. Many athletes lost multiple times or got sports-related injuries before their great breakthrough. For example, another famous athlete Eddie Edwards put in great efforts to qualify for the British Olympics Team just to finish last in the competition though beating his personal record. Jessie had to face racial and social prejudice, combat poverty and injustice, and make difficult personal choices to finally demonstrate his talent to the world. Only extraordinary people with strong willpower and spirit of a true leader do not admit defeat under pressure and fulfill their dreams.
Unfortunately, these magnificent victories do not guarantee further success, happiness, and welfare. Jessie Owens could not continue his brilliant career due to the difficult social conditions of that time. Many other athletes had to end their professional career rather early and switch to other pursuits. However, this fact does not derogate their achievements. On the contrary, one has to be a passionate lover of one’s profession to pursue it without having any guarantees for the future. It requires great bravery to risk everything in the struggle and face the consequences alone. At the moments of triumph, they not only fulfill their cherished aspirations but set examples to thousands of people showing them that everything is possible. They also show that real sport is about physical agility, moral strength, fair competition, and professional solidarity and that there is no place for political motives or petty conflicts in this area. Every obstacle can be overcome, every weakness can be turned into strength, and all the limitations can be removed if there are will and desire.
To conclude, the story of Jesse Owens demonstrates which moral qualities represent a true spirit of an athlete. Absolute commitment to one’s path, willpower and moral courage, high aspirations, and determination to achieve one’s goal regardless of challenges are the qualities of a leader. Only visionaries and leaders will rise to the heights of sports overcoming their personal limits and external circumstances. Thus, to master sports, one has to be not only a leader in one’s field but, first of all, a leader in one’s life.