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Empathy & Athletics

Updated: Aug 18

The RunDNA Team recently reflected on our favorite Olympics moments and while watching the winner take the gold is certainly always a rush, empathy had its place on the podium in Tokyo 2021. After the last year and a half, seeing genuine joy, empathy, and support was a refreshing feeling. We saw this display from all the athletes, but we want to make a special shout-out to these female competitors who made us smile genuinely rejoicing in each other’s victories.

The stakes were so high this year that it would have been understandable, excusable maybe even, for some to lose their cool, but the underbelly of the beast hid a softer, mushier side. American swimmer, Lilly King, the intimidator of all intimidators, lost no time in diving in for a big hug to congratulate Tatjana Schoemaker from South Africa on her gold medal. When Malawi-born Australian swimmer Cate Campbell won bronze, she was all smiles for fellow Australian, Emma McKeon. After taking a mental health break, American gymnast, Simone Biles earnestly congratulated the Russian team on their performance. The words “you’re a f*king fighter!” were overheard when Lolote Miller of Norway comforted Belgium rival Claire Michel after she finished last in the triathlon. These women get it. They’ve all trained hard. They’ve all been on both sides of the coin.


This is the kind of positive messaging that keeps us honest because it serves as a reminder that no matter how many dreams come true, or don’t, athletes are all in it together. Recreational athletes and elite competitors alike know the hard work that goes into maintaining and enhancing a skill, loving the sport, and playing with heart. As coaches and professionals who work with athletes, these big media communal events serve as reinforcement for what we already know: humanity is at the foundation of every game, match, race, or competition.

Our meeting wrapped up the idea to share our strategies for creating an athletic culture of kindness to self, teammates, and opponents in an upcoming newsletter. We’re excited to share this with you, since we love to share what’s worked for us to help our athletes and runners stay healthy and get excellent results. We’ll be thinking more about this and would love for you to reply back to us with some of your strategies for encouraging kindness and sportsmanship. Have a great week! Doug

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