The Face of A Champion

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The Face of A Champion


Winning Is Only A Very small Part Of What Makes A Champion

Today I want to introduce you to one of my heroes and a true champion. She has been a source of inspiration for me and countless others and not so much because of what she won, but even more so of what she did not win.



Ready to Rock And Roll

Sylvie Frechette is a retired Canadian olympic synchronized swimmer who exemplifies what it means to be a true champion. She became a member of the national team in 1983 and trained tirelessly for years and years. She was rewarded by winning the world championship in 1991 and seemed an odds on favourite for a medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Everything seemed perfect, she was in the prime of her career and swimming really strongly. Then tragedy struck and her family lost her grandfather just months before the competition.


Olympic Champions Are Different

Sylvie resolved to continue her quest but a week before she was to leave for Barcelona she arrived home to find that her fiancé and manager, Sylvain Lake, had committed suicide in their apartment. In the ensuing crisis, Sylvie showed her true character and made the decision of a champion, she decided to go to Barcelona and to compete there. I can’t even begin to imagine the turmoil within her heart and mind. It’s a situation few of us ever find ourselves in and no one can predict how we would react. But one thing is clear. What follows is an unparalleled tale of true sportsmanship and dignity in the face of unimaginable odds.


Shot Down In Flames

When Sylvie arrived in Barcelona she wasted no time in returning to her routines and swam her very best in the competition. Even to the untrained eye of a casual observer like myself it was clear she was the better competitor. However, tragedy struck again during the compulsory figures routine where Frechette garnered marks that ranged from 9.2 to 9.7 from four of the five judges. The fifth judge from Brazil erroneously entered an 8.7 instead of the 9.7 she intended to enter. She immediately tried to correct the error but the assistant referee could not understand her English and the wrong score was included. Though it was obviously wrong, the decision to not overturn the score was made. That difference was enough to drop her points total below that of her main competitor, who then backed her way into winning the gold medal.


How A True Champion Responds

Frechette then did the unthinkable. She maintained her poise even throughout the post swim interview and did not fault the judge or the system but instead congratulated her competitor who won the gold in her place.  At the medal ceremony she stood proudly with an entire nation behind her and again she congratulated the other swimmers before graciously leaving the stage.

I wonder how many of us could have followed her actions? Not I, and I daresay not many others. To have suffered such deep personal tragedy and then to be denied what is rightfully yours would be enough to knock me sideways, I think. Her courage and fortitude have remained with me to this day. Just imagine having the inner strength that no matter what anyone says to you, you can simply thank them and turn and walk away.  In my mind that is what makes a true champion. Often the test of a person’s mettle isn’t when they win and are crowned the champion, it’s when they are thwarted by circumstance and have to carry on without the crown. Like Sylvie and Dara Torres.


Justice Is Served

The Canadians continued to press the point of the issue to the International Olympic Committee and in 1993, a full sixteen months after her event, Sylvie Frechette was correctly given the gold medal in synchronized swimming that she so richly deserved. By that time her story was known coast to coast and it was an emotional moment for Sylvie and all her fans when she accepted the medal.

Next time you are faced with a ‘Sylvie’ (a deep injustice) remember her courage and use it to help you get through the situation with the most dignity you can muster.

Till Next Time….


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Sigrid McNab

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About Sigrid McNab

Sigrid McNab is the author of #1 Amazon Best Seller, speaker and the CEO and Founder of Sigrid specializes in blogging, attraction marketing, and generating highly qualified leads. Sigrid teaches people how to build a successful online business.

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6 Responses to “The Face of A Champion”

  1. Jeff Rutter Says:

    Great post Sigrid, that truly is the story of a champion. I like the look of your site, clean, uncluttered, and inviting
    Jeff Rutter recently posted…The special offer is Over!!My Profile


    sigrid Reply:

    Thanks for the compliment Jeff, that is the look that we are striving to achieve. I want to provide value without a lot of window dressing. Any other suggestions are more than welcome.



  2. George Park Says:

    WOW, what an amazing story!!!

    If only we could all emulate Sylvie, imagine what we could achieve.

    Thank you for posting this.


    sigrid Reply:

    You are so welcome George. It seems to fly in the face of human nature, but if we could somehow get past the outraged incrimination and take only the positives from an event, we truly could effect change.



  3. Aisake Vuikadavu Says:

    Sigrid, thank you for sharing this story. What a great example of inner fortitude and the fact that what needs to happen will always happen. In relation to our marketing, it shows that we should never be “addicted to the outcome.” The right people, the right results will all occur at the right time, and it may not always be at the time that we initially intended. Basically give your ALL at anything you do, and the results will follow.


    sigrid Reply:

    Fantastic alegorical reference to network marketing Aisake. Those are valid and valuable points. By not being attached to the outcome, we can put forth our best effort each and every time and be ok with whatever the results are.



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