Olympic Dreams and the power of hard work

You cannot fail to be moved by watching the Olympics and seeing the very human side of athletes as they realise dreams of a medal or experience the nightmare of falling short.

What impresses me most about each and every one of them is that at the start of their athletic journey, success was not guaranteed. They work hard, not to win gold, but for the chance to win gold.

I think that’s what separates most of us from the immortal Olympians. If we knew (and I mean knew) that if we worked hard, we’d win gold at an Olympics, many of us too would train every day and make the necessary sacrifices. Working hard in the hope of competing is an entirely different proposition – no guarantees are offered.

I’m sure the sacrifice needed to get there is enormous; there are no crowds lining the extra mile…

This is also true for policing; the sacrifice made by our staff is enormous with family events missed, Christmas days spent at work when children are opening gifts or even commandeering the dining room table to hold meetings on a digital platform to work from home during the pandemic. These are not done in the hope of a medal at an Olympics, but in service of our communities.

I wrote some thank you cards to staff this week for going the extra mile.

Two incidents stood out for me. The first was a young officer giving an outstanding service to a bereaved family at the scene of a sudden death. The family felt so moved by his service to them that they contacted me to thank him on their behalf. The second incident involved a stop search by two neighbourhood officers which uncovered 6-7 kilos of heroin and £20,000 in cash.

If I could have awarded gold medals this week it would have been for those two outstanding but very different ways in which we have served our communities, yet, they happen every single day by hundreds of our staff members. Our officers, staff and volunteers are out there working hard to help keep our communities safe and my job is to draw attention to their great work and ensure they receive the recognition they so richly deserve.

This week at the Olympics has seen some truly incredible scenes that display the full range of emotions. We’ve all felt like mums, dads, brothers or sisters to Tom Daley since he burst onto the scene as a young boy in Beijing in 2008. To see him win gold was something very special. This article outlines Tom Daley’s rollercoaster ride to Olympic gold | Team GB.

Jade Jones. *Picture from The Guardian

Another story which caught my attention was Jade Jones the double Olympic champion from North Wales who missed out on another gold to go with her London 2012 and Rio 2016 gold medals. Pride is not always associated with winning gold but in the way we react to defeat which is truly character revealing. Jade’s response to the disappointment made me prouder of her than any of her gold medals. Da iawn, Jade – ti’n arwr i ni gyd yng Nghymru.

Aimee Wilmot. *Picture from Twitter

Aimee Willmott from Middlesbrough who made the Olympic final in the 400m individual medley in what was her third Olympics – an astonishing record in what is a brutal event – well done Aimee. The importance of role models for our children in Cleveland is vital and Aimee is just that. 

We don’t always have crowds cheering our work in policing but there’s one thing I know about Cleveland Police – we’re out there every day doing all we can to make you proud of the work we do in keeping you safe regardless of how tough the day has been. We don’t ask for medals, but your support means the world.

C’mon Team GB.

Richard Lewis

Chief Constable

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