At the Summer Olympics in Athens, twenty-one-year-old Oscar Figueroa placed 5th in the men’s weightlifting competition and came to Beijing in 2008 hoping to better his performance. Unfortunately, due to a cervical disc injury, he failed to make a lift in the snatch category and left the Games without posting a result. Failure and a risky surgery did not stop Figueroa. With a new coach, he began training immediately and arrived in London in 2012 stronger and mentally committed. With maximum concentration, he completed an Olympic Record lift of 177 kg, earning a Silver Medal.
A second painful surgery followed success in London, yet Figueroa maintained focus, practicing meditation and preparing mentally as well as physically for Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Observers noted that he remained remarkably calm before a roaring crowd, with Colombian fans “in a frenzy” and rivals falling away.1 In Figueroa’s own words, he knew that in order to win, “…you had to believe, to trust, to desire, to be disciplined…the only way was to keep working.”2 At age 33 in Rio, Figueroa fell to his knees and burst into tears after winning the men’s competition and taking home Gold. “I never give up.”
- “Against All Odds,” video, retrieved January 10, 2021, https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/athletes/detail/oscar-figueroa/