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Running a Business is Tough, But It Could be Worse, We Could be Olympic Curlers

March 2nd, 2010 | Small Business | No Comments »

As the t.v. ratings indicate, U.S. audiences are caught up in Olympic fever.  I’m not exactly sure why this Olympics is so different than the Torino games in 2006.  It may be due to the fact that these Olympics are in North America and we can, generally, watch the events as they happen (not on tape delay).  I really think it’s because the U.S. is actually winning.  If we had a guy who could ski and shoot well, I guarantee that the biathlon would be a national craze.  I’m not saying this because I’m any different…I’ve never cared so much about hockey until the U.S. was playing for gold (hockey to me really is soccer on ice, and soccer is boring on grass). 

But unlike hockey players (who are professionals and merely taking a two-week Olympic vacation), and Shaun White (who is a millionaire and video game inspiration), most of the Olympic athletes work a patch-work lower paying jobs that provide them flexibility so they can train during the 3 years and 50 weeks they aren’t competing for medals. Take a member of the U.S. Curling team as an example.  According to a recent CNN article, it costs $150,000/year just to train for qualifying events.  They must use all their vacation time (and additional non-paid time) to travel to events…and oh yes, they have to train 5 hours a day.  The only upside in being an Olympic Curler is that it appears to be an in-demand activity for Wall Street traders(so they may have a future career in providing outrageously expensive lessons to overpaid quants).

All of this comes down to a point…I swear.  For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the passion is creating and growing a business.  Overtime, the business grows or at the very least the owner gains valuable business experience for the next venture.  But an Olympic Curler, after 4 years and thousands of dollars is left with little media coverage, no endorsements, and, if it’s the US team, no real shot at a medal.  That’s commitment.

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