Winning with Wendy | Champions Are Not Self-Made

Welcome to my blog! I’m Wendy Boglioli, Olympian, motivational speaker, and long term care insurance advocate. No matter where you are on your champion’s journey, I’m here to cheer you on. We all win when we share experiences and I hope that you learn something new here. Feel free to share my insights as an Olympic athlete with your colleagues, friends, and family, then reach out to me at and let me know how you build your champion’s mindset. Let’s spread a message of resilience and success. 


Last month I shared the first misconception about champions: that they make big steps along the way. We now know that it’s not true. Champions are made through a series – sometimes a lifetime – of many small steps.

One of the most inspiring stories from the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 is about Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old high school student from Alaska who won gold in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. She swam the race in 1 minute, 4.95 seconds, beating the world record holder and her teammate Lilly King. What did her teammate say? Although Lilly was the favorite going into the race, she celebrated her young teammate’s victory saying, “I’m surprisingly OK right now and very happy with my race. So excited for Lydia.” Both women are role models for young athletes and demonstrated a valuable lesson for anyone who wants to achieve their goals: the idea of the self-made champion is a myth.

Many people believe that success is a result of individual talent, hard work, and determination. They think that if they just work hard enough, they can overcome any obstacle and reach their dreams. While these qualities are certainly important, they are not enough. No one can achieve anything great on their own.

  • Champions have mentors and coaches who guide them, teach them, and challenge them to grow. They learn from the best and benefit from their feedback and support.
  • They have teammates and peers who inspire them, motivate them, and collaborate with them. They share their goals and challenges with others who understand and help them.
  • We all need to lean on managers, mentors, and peers for knowledge, guidance, and support to help us conquer our challenges and grow as professionals.

When I was on the Olympic relay team in 1976, we worked for hours developing those perfect skills of the touch and the toes on the blocks when that swimmer comes into the wall. That timing must be perfect, you either hit right, leave late, or miss your touch, and off that swimmer went before you touched, the difference between winning, losing, or being disqualified, it all hangs with each swimmer.

But I think more than that is the COMPLETE TRUST that is most important. You must have trust in one another’s ability and skill, and trust that they will do exactly as they said they would: touch with the right hand, not the left, and measure their last strokes because you practiced with them touching with the right hand. There had to be TRUST. In business, it’s the relationships we have with the companies we have chosen to partner with.

Important Points About Building Success

  • Work as a team and help one another succeed. Reach out to one another and establish guidelines for how you will work together.
  • Establish trust and work together to improve your timing and support. This will lead to successful execution.
  • Whether it’s collaborating on a project, sharing best practices, giving feedback, or celebrating achievements, we can all benefit from working with others who share our vision and values.

My experience as an Olympic champion showed me that success is not a solo sport, it’s a team effort. It’s the same in business. It’s about trusting your teammates, learning from your mentors, and supporting your peers. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself. It’s about being a champion.

In the Olympic spirit,


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