3 Business Lessons From The 2021 Olympics

           “….You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One-half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.

           On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the f****** difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING!….”

                    Al Pacino 
                    Coach Tony D’Amato 
                   Any Given Sunday


If you follow our blogs, you are aware that  Beau Satchelle’s team has either competed on Olympic sports teams in both high school and college. Needless to say, the last 2 weeks were an absolute thrill to follow the 2020 (or 2021) Olympic events.

Despite all of the challenges Tokyo was up against, the world was privy to the backdrop of a mix of traditional and ultra-modern cultures.  As a top city on our bucket list to visit in the near future, our desire grew 10x from viewing the stunning videos and photography of the Japanese landscape and the warm stories of the volunteers.  

The Olympics are magnets for attracting scandals ranging from adversarial nations not playing nice, controversial politics, host country’s insensibility to other countries’ cultures and doping performance issues.  Additionally, Tokyo also had the constant burden of ensuring a healthy and sanitary environment for visitors from around the world.  

What a difference four years makes when we said our goodbyes to the Rio Brazil’s Olympics extravaganza:

  • A world health pandemic postponed the Olympics for a year and forced the  International Olympics Committee and Tokyo government officials to think outside the box in providing solutions to keep athletes, coaches, and journalists safe.

  • Unlike past Olympics filled with glitz and glamor and throngs of tourists, Tokyo still managed to present a scaled-down yet the lovely display of pageantry with both its opening and closing ceremonies.



  • We witnessed the bittersweet last stands and passing of the torch from veteran competitors with household names to emerging athletes deservedly earning the title of best in the world.

  • Athletes’ voices became louder with regards to mental health and the pressures of performing at a top-level, maternity issues, choosing to wear covered uniforms to address the overt female sexuality, Olympians competing and winning the gold at even younger ages, athletes successfully making their journey even with all odds against them including their own country’s pressures.

  • The introduction of 4 new sports –  karate surfing, skateboarding, sports climbing, and the return of softball and baseball

To compete with champions, titleholders, and record breakers from across the globe is the aspiration for high-performance athletes.  For the world stage, having the opportunity to hear the stories of individuals’ pathways to reach the highest pinnacle is inspiring and offers lessons to us all, including entrepreneurs.

In 2016, we posted a blog regarding winning traits of athletes from the Rio Olympics that we paralleled to our luxury business:

  1. “Failure is not an option”passion

  2. Dedicated training for effortless performance and successful results

  3. Striving for perfection through monitoring and measuring every element

Following the same theme for the 2021’s Olympics here are our three top takeaways for business application 

Commitment to the work

I listened to a podcast interview of a  trainer of Olympic athletes who helps his clients understand the why to winning.  He has determined that the one who wins is the one who does more who – wakes up earlier, runs more, shoots more, swims more – does more than what his or her peers won’t do. 

Those world-class athletes Invest in the best coaches, trainers, nutritionists, psychologists, and other professionals who can get them better to perform at peak state.  Which means monitoring every detail of their training – diet. weight building, cardio, skills training – constantly and repetitiously looking for the edge.  Creating good habits, daily and hourly routines monitored and measured.

As a small business, the same dedication toward world-class status is expected by instituted systems and tracking analytics. Investing in coaches and professionals who assist in capitalizing on strengths and finding solutions for weaknesses. An entrepreneur has no excuses – just committed to the work.  Coach D’Amato’s speech at the beginning of this blog sums it up beautifully…winning in life is about scrapping for the inches.  Getting up every morning. grateful for another day to work on building a business understanding it takes tiny increments every day to be the best in your field. 

Tokyo Japan’s Hosting Capabilities

Can we agree a standing ovation is deserved by Tokyo, Japan on pulling off an insurmountable feat?  Along with empty stadiums, the mask-wearing, the enforced social distancing rules, the negativity against the timing of the games, the lost revenue, the president of the Olympic committee resigning, the timezones for watching from the US…it was a tough go to host one of the biggest global events while still in the midst of a neverending pandemic.

No matter the challenges, the messiness, the plans that have gone awry, it’s about keeping your head down and adapting quickly to obstacles.  Maintaining a laser-like focus on the end result – brand excellence to your market and your customers.  

Always be prepared for opportunities

Gymnast Simone Biles, one of the greatest Olympians in history, unexpectedly took herself out of the competition for mental health concerns. Simone’s decision will change the trajectory of athletes’ decision to perform versus mental health self-care.  

Where the lesson of being prepared for opportunities comes into play was the poise of her teammate Suni Lee who was suddenly thrust into the spotlight with the realization that she had an opportunity to win gold in the individual all-around competition..

Even though she and her coach made a few adjustments to her floor routine,  it came down to Suni being prepared mentally for the heightened pressure.  She had physically prepared herself with thousands of hours of training.  

Most entrepreneurs smile gracefully when labeled an “overnight sensation” as the public knows nothing about the blood, sweat, and tears that businesses experience once suddenly thrust into the spotlight.  This is when success rewards those who have been preparing for that day.

The Olympics offers so many life lessons and parallel examples of success to entrepreneurs.  This blog is especially dedicated to all of our peers in the small business world who continue to strive for excellence in their chosen profession.  With anticipation and hope for a safer and healthier world in 2024, Paris here we come!   -AJ

Thank you to the following photographers for their visual contributions

Shinnosuke Ando – Olympic Rings

Romavor – Equestrian Competitor

Prithpal Bhatia – Tokyo Subway

Alevision.co – Fencer

Gerd Funcke – Tennis Racket and Ball

Ash Edmonds – Skateboarder

Pexels – Surfer

Yu Kato – Tokyo Japan

Tirza van Dijk – 800 Meters

Taiki Ishikawa – Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center

Alex Smith – OlympicRing

Eugene Lim – Gymnast


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