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Going for… silver

The focus of this post is on how a team can work together to achieve great performance, and of course the role played by the leader. I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts that much of the writing on performance, and associated activities such as coaching, mentoring and psychology, is based on techniques developed and used in the world of sport. I’d therefore like to make use of an example from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and to feature not the gold medal achievements of Team GB but the women’s eight rowing team, which struck silver.

I think the Olympic Games are interesting as they represent both the pinnacle of sporting achievement and a perilous once-every-four-years shot at greatness.


Going into the race, the women’s-eight GB team…

  • had never achieved a medal, despite taking part in ten games,
  • qualified for the final but where low down in the rankings with the USA team as favourites – this is reflected by little mention of the team by the commentators
  • were surrounded by the legacy of Team GB rowing success (Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent et al).

Let’s see what happened…


  • As mentioned above, the lack of reference to the GB team could lead to them being overlooked.
  • A lesson in planning and consistency as other teams, notably Canada, took off quickly and the race saw the GB team in sixth (last place) at the 500 and 1,000 metre points. They then moved up to third from at the 1,500 mark and maintained second place from then to the end.
  • Controlled and weren’t panicked by the other teams.
  • The role of the cox (you only saw her briefly) – should be the women’s 9s.

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