Two Dozen Basic Management Principles — Pt. 19

Lopez thought he was nervous when he spoke to the Dream Team. He was really nervous when it came time to put on the strap for the flag and walk out into Beijing’s Olympic Stadium. The flag was huge, and the wind whipped down the tunnel where he waited for the signal to start walking. “Don’t let that flag touch the ground, buddy,” the President had told him. Lopez thought it would not be hard. With the wind blowing, he was not quite so sure now. Lopez took a deep breath and said a quick prayer. The official in charge of the order of the teams looked up at Lopez, “Okay, it’s time, he said. A Chinese girl with a sign that read “United States of America” took her place in front of Lopez. They took off walking. He stepped out of the tunnel and a million camera flashes went off at once. The crowd cheered. Lopez walked down the track, his grip tight on the flagpole. He looked up at the giant Jumbotron. There on the screen, he saw President Bush, standing, saluting the flag. They then split the image in half. On one side was the President, his hand over his heart. On the other side was Lopez Lomong, the lost boy carrying the flag of his new home. He was no longer a lost boy or an orphan. He was an American. A full week passed between the opening ceremonies and his first 1500 meter heat. He needed that time to come down out of the clouds. His adopted parents, Coach Paccia, and Tom Carraci (his best friend from high school) all came to watch him run. He finished fifth in his first race but his time qualified him for the semifinals. Unfortunately, that race didn’t go quite so well. His normal strategy worked until late in the third lap when the field starting kicking at 500 meters to go! Lopez normally starting kicking at 300 meters. Lopez could not believe his eyes. He tried to keep up but his right leg would not respond. He came away with his worst time of the year, a full five seconds slower than...

Read More