I grew up playing team sports. Our mantras seem a bit old fashioned today.
Do what you’re assigned.
Win one play at a time.
Pitch in and get the job done, together.
Which is why Belgian shot putter and hammer throw champion Jolien Boumkwo was such an inspiration and example of exceptional sportsmanship at the European Championships in Poland. In a critical moment for her team, Boumkwo stepped forward when two teammates were injured, offering to compete in the 100m hurdles race. This decision was vital to secure points for Belgium and avoid automatic disqualification from Division 1.
Despite her specialization in shot put and limited preparation time, Boumkwo accepted the challenge. With a composed mindset, she carefully navigated each hurdle, ensuring no points were deducted from her team’s score. Although her performance in the race placed her significantly behind her competitors, Boumkwo received genuine recognition from fellow athletes for her extraordinary dedication. Her act is an example of true sportsmanship and the importance of prioritizing the collective success of the team. Boumkwo expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in such an event and cherished the experience as a valuable new chapter in her athletic journey.
In an age of Capital I- individualism in team sports, Jolien was all about team.