By Dr. T
Allyson Felix knew it wasn’t over for the U.S. Women’s 4x100m relay team. It appeared all had been lost after Felix botched the baton pass in the semi-final heat, which would’ve caused the team to be disqualified from running in the final. “Finish the race…and then we can protest,” she told her teammate. And finish they did. The United States advanced to the final only by winning an appeal after dropping the baton. It was ruled that a Brazilian runner had interfered with Allyson Felix, and the team was allowed a special rerun. If it ran faster than the last qualifier, the American team would advance and that they did, with the fastest time of the day.
Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner, and Tori Bowie are Gold Medal Champions today because they did not give up; adversity, or even the appearance of defeat did not distract them, they finished the race…and then they protested. It was the maturity, knowledge of the rules and the quick thinking of Allyson Felix that exhorted her team to cross the finish line thereby affording them the opportunity to claim the gold medal they so richly deserved and were destined to receive. These women are such amazing examples of keeping your eyes on the prize no matter what obstacles you may face. We all need to recognize when you have a big vision, you will encounter detractors and
Many times when we take our eyes off the goal, the objective, the outcome we seek and instead allow ourselves to get all caught up in the protest, we lose our way. The end game becomes about the “protest” that will bring attention to the “struggle” instead of the protest that is advocating for my right to be in the game, with all the privileges that all other participants are afforded in that SAME game. The protest needs to be about equity, fairness, equal access and a level playing field. Given all those ingredients and the opportunity to run the race with anyone who is qualified to run, I can run with integrity, the certainty that my best will be enough to achieve what I came to achieve. If not, I will ascertain if I have to work harder the next time or be satisfied with what I have been able to accomplish, content in the knowledge that I was not distracted or deterred from pursuing my goals.