Olympians Who Live & Breathe Olympic Values

Jemima Twist, Coordinator, Client Strategy

With Olympic group matches already underway in soccer, Olympic fever is taking off not only in our office but across the nation. Team Canada, consisting of 313 athletes across 34 sports, is sending its largest team ever to the first South American Games. With a medal target of 19, the COC hopes to surpass the medal haul achieved four years earlier in London. The lead up to this year’s Games has been a challenging one for the IOC to navigate, with allegations of doping, financial difficulties and athlete safety to name but a few stories dominating the media in recent weeks. Added to these pressures, the Olympic movement is also evolving with the changes to Rule 40 and increased expense of hosting a Games limiting the number of cities able to explore a bid.

Fortunately the Olympic Movement, what it stands for, and its history is an incredible property that not only inspires the next generation, showcases the extraordinary talents of what the human race is capable of, and perhaps more importantly it brings us together.

On Friday, when the athletes step onto the track to open the  XXXI Olympic Games, we will be tuning in, along with millions more around the world, becoming captivated by the stories of athletes that have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of excellence, often making unbelievable sacrifices to reach their potential and become the best in the world.

Through the roster of incredible clients we have worked with, we have witnessed firsthand how integral an alignment of values is in the success of building a true partnership. Being able to identify what you stand for and communicate that, supported with real world examples adds a true layer of authenticity to your brand’s personality. The Olympic Movement is no different and with the added challenge of being on the world’s biggest stage, is under a giant microscope. The Olympic Movement is founded on seven values representing both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Below, we take a look at how our athletes and the Games Movement are personifying their values.



Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was willing to sacrifice his own medal chances in Seoul to save the lives of fellow competitors. Lemieux was sitting in second place when he veered off course after seeing Singaporean sailors Joseph Chan and Shaw Her Siew in the water next to their capsized boat and in danger of being carried out to sea. Lemieux rescued them from the water and waited for assistance to arrive before returning to his race and finishing well behind the leaders. Lemieux was awarded a Pierre de Coubertin medal for his sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage.



Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta won the 200m breaststroke title at the London 2012 Games, a few months after world champion Alexandre Dale Oen had died of a heart attack. Gyurta dedicated his victory to the Norwegian and pledged to have a copy of the medal sent to his family.



Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time gave new meaning to blowing the competition out of the water at the 2008 Games in Beijing. The American swimmer took home eight gold medals, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in one Olympic Games. Counting his six golds from Athens and four more from London, he’s at 18 golds and 22 total medals over four career trips to the Olympics. Watch this space to see if he can add to his tally in Rio, he will have three opportunities to do so swimming in the 100m, 200m Butterfly and the 200m I.M.



Eric Moussambani made a splash in the Sydney 2000 Games, the first time he’d ever seen an Olympic-sized pool and only months after he’d taken up swimming. The Equitorial Guinea native gained entry into the Olympics through a wildcard for athletes from developing countries who might not have elaborate training facilities. Moussambani competed in the 100-meter freestyle qualifying race and lost miserably, but his perseverance wowed fans all over the world.



Leon Gaysli lost his family and sustained spinal-cord injuries during the 2010 Haiti earthquake which left him paralyzed. Less than two years later he competed in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Sometimes it takes more than a winner to inspire and excite fans. That was certainly the case for Haitian earthquake survivor Gaysli when he crossed the line last at Brands Hatch. Despite finishing 20 minutes after the gold-medallist, Gaysli was a crowd favourite in London 2012 when spectators at Brands Hatch saw the sheer will and determination etched on his face.



Derek Redman competing in the 400m 1992 Summer Games. Redmond started well, but in the back straight about 250 metres from the finish, his hamstring tore. He hobbled to a halt, and then fell to the ground in pain. Stretcher bearers made their way over to him, but Redmond decided he wanted to finish the race. He began to hobble along the track. He was soon joined on the track by his father, Jim Redmond, who barged past security to get to his son. Jim and Derek completed the lap of the track together, with Derek leaning on his father’s shoulder for support. As they crossed the finish line, the crowd of 65,000 spectators rose to give Derek a standing ovation.

Relive the moment here.



Saudi Arabia also made a historic Olympic record in London 2012 by having two female athletes on the team for the first time, along with 17 men playing for five different sports. A truly monumental moment for gender equality around the world.


*At TTG/TORQUE we pride ourselves on being a values-driven organization and constantly strive to live those values through our day-to-day work and lives.