Champion: It takes more than discipline…

Liu Shiwen, Table Tennis Player

What does it take to become a champion in sports? From my experience, it takes both talent (nature) and skills (training) to win. To win consecutively, you also need the champion mentality – developed over a period of time – of which an important element is “Never feel complacent”. What makes sport competition unique is that everyone is “equal” in the playing field – sharing the same starting line.

There are many signs and traits about champions, varying from sport to sport. However, common traits such as focus, confidence, resolve and strive for excellence, are shared among all champions. In this essay, I will keep it short and simple without delving too much.


Sport champions win from a young age. Given the nature of competitions, if you can’t be successful at a young age, you are out. Although you don’t have to win a gold medal in early competitions, most champions do win a silver or bronze medal, demonstrating their talent in sports.


Sport champions are trained rigorously and on a regular basis. Training usually involves general physical training such as stretching, jumping, running, and muscle building, as well as specialized training for a particular sport, for example, volleyball smash and basketball layup.

Champions are eager to learn and excel in learning. To win in fierce competitions, we are always prepared to learn the best techniques and develop new skills.

Although training can be very tedious and physically demanding – day in and day out, year after year – we embrace it, as we see training as an essential step to success.


Champions are rarely self-satisfied, as we know, from our experience, that it only takes 0.01 second to lose a competition.

We respect champions at higher levels and in other sports, as they earn it through a combination of talent, skills and mentality. Behind each gold medal, we see the extraordinary traits of a champion: strive for excellent and “Never feel complacent”. These traits are best exemplified by world champions such as Roger Federer for tennis, Michael Phelps for swimming, Lang Ping for volleyball, and Wu MinXia for diving – among many others.


The Olympic Games are meaningful not only to athletes, but also to our society. Why does our society need to promote Olympism? I couldn’t find a better answer than the statement below posted on the Olympic official website.

“Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”


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