Usain Bolt vs Johan Blake: Natural ability versus hard work
Churandy Martina of The Netherlands, US' Ryan Bailey, Jamaica's Usain Bolt, US' Justin Gatlin, Jamaica's Yohan Blake, US' Tyson Gay, Jamaica's Asafa Powell and Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson take the start of the men's 100m final at the athletics event during the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 5, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONG
In sport it’s not just about being gifted but having the ability to draw on that gift when it’s needed most.
So what’s more important when it comes to sports performance and success, to have an athlete with tons of raw talent, or an athlete with average skills but an insatiable yearning to be the best?
Sport is the field of life where this argument is most visible because we have all seen young men and women of great natural talent who never quite fulfill their potential.
This is often a matter of character – a reluctance to take advice, a refusal to recognise their weaknesses, and a disinclination to work hard enough to overcome them.
Many suggest that sporting champions come from the womb and that the combination of natural ability and talent, destiny and a lesser emphasis on training will lead them to success.
Others will argue that hard work, determination and countless of hours of training can bridge the talent gap and will lead an athlete to elite competition.
The example of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake is as good as any. Both are headed toward sporting greatness but both are following different paths, relying on different attributes yet the division of talent is monstrously unjust.
Bolt is a naturally gifted genius, possessing more talent in his little finger than Blake has in his entire body whereas Blake, younger than his fellow Jamaican, is prepared to work harder than ever in order to achieve his full potential.
Blake may yet surpass Bolt, but for the moment, the difference between them is clear.
There is little doubt that if talent is combined with ambition and work ethic it makes for an unbeatable combination. If unequally talented people have an identical attitude, the greater talent will always win
In best-case scenarios, athletes use their natural abilities as a foundation for future success, and then put in the hard work in order to reach their full potential.
The need to work hard to improve is evident now more than ever.