Inspiring Ourselves to Sheer Excellence.

AUGUST 2012 • Tsuwa Thompson

In This Article

To be sincere with you, few people inspire me. First on my list is God my Saviour and then His favourite Apostle, Paul. Coming down to earth, there are quite a few men in the world of business that are on my top 10 list and they include Robert Kiyosaki, John Maxwell, Michael Gerber and the late Stephen R. Covey.

I did not think my list would see any newcomers any time soon but the Olympics changed that. Specifically, David Rudisha of Kenya and Usain Bolt of Jamaica have thoroughly inspired me.

Today, I chose to write a few words about a man that I have only seen on TV but whose heroism has changed the lives of many and affected his country, Africa and the world in a new way. His name is David Lekuta Rudisha and he was the first athlete to set a new world record on the track at London 2012 as he won the 800m gold medal.

Rudisha’s performance continues to play in my mind like a song set to play over and over again. It is as though David pressed the repeat button of my mind through his exemplary and glorious run. As I think of what he has accomplished, three

lessons that we can all learn from David Rudisha come to mind.

➢ Seek to Inspire
– I am not sure if my words will do justice to David, but he was nothing short of inspirational. Never has an 800m race been so beautifully run by all the athletes that participated but it took the guts and spirit of one man, the man Rudisha to inspire his fellow runners to personal glory.

BBC Sports said this on their website, "So fast was he that behind him all manner of other marks went up in smoke. There were personal bests for six of the remaining seven, five went under 1:43, while every single man ran the fastest ever time for their placing in history." See the table below for the names and feats of the runners in the London Olympics 800m final race.

Olympics 800m Final Race Runners
Athlete Mark Performance level
RUDISHA David Lekuta 01:40.9 World Record
AMOS Nijel 01:41.7 National Record
KITUM Timothy 01:42.5 Personal Best
SOLOMON Duane 01:42.8 Personal Best
SYMMONDS Nick 01:43.0 Personal Best
AMAN Mohammed 01:43.2 National Record
KAKI Abubaker 01:43.3 Season Best
OSAGIE Andrew 01:43.8 Personal Best

His fellow countrymen at the games were inspired and raked in more medals. Now the world is inspired and even Kelly Holmes of Great Britain said in an interview, that David's performance shows that the 800m discipline has progressed and grown (paraphrased).

Where ever you are, whatever your disciplines, which ever company you are loyal to, get in front, provoke and inspire people to greatness that they thought was just a dream.

➢ Gun for Sheer Excellence – There is good, there is better, and there is best. Yet there are words that blow some superlatives away and in David Rudisha we witnessed not the best, but sheer excellence.

Some Olympians sought only gold medal victories. A classic example is the American 4X400m relay team – they chose gold and missed a world record by 2-3 seconds. David sought excellence that no one could contest or deny. He broke the 800m world record into smithereens.

BBC Sports said this on their website, "Rudisha's one minute 40.91 seconds set a new benchmark in an event where only three other men in 36 years have set world records: Alberto Juantorena, Coe and Kipketer."

Today we applaud ourselves when we deliver what we call great results and often rightly so. But have we asked ourselves whether we could have done better. If we had put in an additional one hour a week on that project could we have won our companies significant savings or an additional 10%, 20%, or whatever the percent increase in revenues? Have we been satisfied with getting gold that have not seen that the sky is not our limit?

Something tells me that Rudisha set a target for himself and he got there that faithful Olympic day. We need to start to think of sheer excellence in all we do not just gold medals.

➢ Greatness is Possible – It may surprise you to know that David started at the bottom of the athletics pyramid. Knowing the ease with which people discount others as unworthy causes, you and I may have written David off some years ago as he competed near his home in Kenya.

BBC Sports reports via their website, "Five years ago, the Kenyan was a decidedly average decathlete, no-heighting in the pole vault at the district championships near his home in Iten. Now, with Olympic gold to go with his world title and an even more startling world record to blow apart his old mark, he is master of a single and special trade."

When I look at David's performance and consider his humble outlook, I see a story of diligence, dedication and determination behind the face of the reigning 800m champion. Every country has its rags to riches story. The Americans call theirs the 'the American Dream'. If I may say so, David Lekuta Rudisha is not dreaming, he is living out greatness for today he's crowned the undisputed king of the 800m discipline.

One again I understand that the path to greatness may have simple instructions, but the work demanded by those instructions is far from easy. Where are we on our different paths to greatness? Where ever we are, let us learn one lesson from David Rudisha's story; through diligence, dedication and determination we can live our dreams and we can fulfil our visions

Few words in the English dictionary describe David Lekuta Rudisha's performance. 'Wow'. 'Incredible'. Without a doubt David is a shining star for Kenya, for Africa and the whole world. Just maybe, we can be shining stars in our own rights, in our own niches if not the world if we count greatness as possible and inspire ourselves and others to sheer excellence.

About the Author

Tsuwa Thompson is the Chief Executive Officer of RtHE Consult



  1. Fordyce, Tom. “Usain Bolt & David Rudisha: Olympic stars united in greatness”.  BBC Sports website. August 2012. August 12th, 2012 <>