Experience Changes Everything

Experience Changes Everything

Sometimes experience is the best teacher. At least, that is how Jeff Porter who is coming back for his second Olympics sees it. He is coming into these games much better prepared than he was for London.

“I am much more relaxed than I was four years ago. I find myself at peace, at comfort, at ease now more so than I was in London,” he says.

Some of this has to do with just knowing what to expect and being familiar with the process. His first Olympics he was so happy to be there and wanting to experience all of London and the Games. Now he knows what to expect in the Olympic Village, the time set up in the call room and other logistics to competing.

But a great deal has to do with being much more at peace with the outcome of his competitions.

“I am looking forward to being relaxed and being comfortable in the Village, in my own spirituality,” he says. “Knowing that there is nothing that is going to happen that is not already planned for and not pre-ordained, and so it is really comforting at that point. I am really just looking forward to having a good race.”

This perspective is a big change from his mindset in London.

“It’s been a faith walk these last four years. I have had some ups and downs and through that I have had to maintain my faith and understand that whether it is good or whether it is bad, it is all for the greater good.”

“I couldn’t see that four years ago,” he adds. Some of the bad races, some of the horrible races I [questioned] why I was doing this.’Why, God, did You put me in this position to experience these heartaches, these disappointments time after time, after time?’”

The growth process has not been easy for Jeff, but what has made the difference has been growing in his faith.

“The thing that has brought me through is I have gotten a lot stronger in my faith, and whether good races or bad races, I kind of shrug it off now. You know what, I am healthy, I am ready to go, I learned something, and I think that has propelled me to where I am now.”

This time around, Jeff is still focused on competing well and on winning. He is much more focused on his competition. But his attitude about the outcome is different.

“I am always expecting to win, to compete at my best, but it doesn’t define who I am. I am much more than what you see on the track,” he says.

Jeff wants to win gold. But he knows that his value and worth do not come from winning a race. This knowledge lets him experience the games in a whole new way his second time around.

“I’m really excited that I have peace now with the Lord,” Jeff says. “I have peace with my ability and I have peace knowing that my identity is not situated on how fast I run on a track. It doesn’t matter whether I win or I lose, I am still a child of God, I am still comfortable in that.”

Photos courtesy of Ted Wilcox

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