What Does It Take To Be A Winner?

Win By Defeat

So we’re still a year away from the Olympics in Brazil and already the doping allegations are starting to swirl.

First, Turkish runner Asli Cakir Alptekin, who got a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, agreed to chuck her title, after admitting to doping from July 2010 until October 2012. She’s now banned from competing for eight years.
And in Oregon, where the Olympic trials are held, noted track and field coach Alberto Salazar and his top runner Galen Rupp are under scrutiny for doping.

According to the BBC, former athletes and a coach say that Salazar approved usage of banned drugs, including testosterone and prescription medications, to increase performance. Rupp, a reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000-meter, is accused of using testosterone and testosterone medication in the report.

Currently there are 50 athletes and coaches serving doping suspensions, with seven handed a lifetime ban, according to the USATF website.

Obviously it’s a problem. I don’t know a lot about running, and maybe even less about winning. But It seems to me that to consider myself a winner, I’d want to play by the rules.

It’s hard to get into the mindset of elite athletes who think differently. As a writer, I find them flat as characters. To me, the more intriguing character is the one who sticks to winning by adhering to the rules, even if he or she knows it’s a losing proposition. That’s the head I want to climb into.

Those are the ones who win by defeat.

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Author: Liz Johnson, author of Win by Defeat

I'm the other writer named Liz who lives in Frenchtown, NJ, currently working on a novel about winning with integrity that also questions the humanity of a mental health system that asks us to wait until someone we love who is suffering is either violent or a harm to themselves before intervening.

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