The 2018 Olympics and a Safety Professional's Lesson Learned

February 27, 2018
Risk Management

I’m a huge sports fan and the level of fanaticism exponentially goes up when the Olympics are on. In my opinion, the Olympics are one of the best sporting events because they illustrate so many life lessons.

At the start of this year’s 2018 Winter Games I found myself watching the 30km Skiathlon. The level of fitness required to perform this race is super-natural. I was exhausted just watching it, and I know I don’t possess the intestinal fortitude to ever attempt a race of this kind. Simen Hegstad Kruegal of Norway is one of the world’s best at this event.

The start of the 30km Skiathlon is a crucial moment for this obscure sport and Simen literally crashed at the starting gate, fell and broke a ski pole. Eventually, he got to his feet and back on his skis, putting him in last place; a position no competitive athlete ever expects to find themselves in.

In a story book ending scripted for moments like the Olympics, Simen chipped away at his time deficit and with 5km left to go he took the lead and won the gold.

What I connected with more so than the obvious "Never Quit!", was the fact that he accomplished his personal goal despite the great deficit that he faced.

Many times in my career I’ve been asked about a process that I really had no prior experience with. As safety professionals we often find ourselves having to push uncertainty aside and push past the boundaries of our limitations. We can’t be experts on all things safety, but we do have basic skills to apply in order to find answers that we need for ourselves, our people, or our organizations. 

I realized that when I find myself at (what feels like) the back of the pack, I tend to push harder so that I can overcome the obstacle in front of me. After all, a dedication to fixing our shortcomings is where we grow both personally and professionally.

I love the Olympic games because they remind me of the amazing accomplishments that can be achieved by pushing past boundaries, beyond what is comfortable, into a new realm where success can be redefined. 

Josh Densberger

Josh began his career as a Firefighter for the Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Florida. He taught the principles of fire science and safety at Seminole State College. He held the position of Corporate Safety Director at Waste Pro, and is currently Corporate Safety Manager at MSE Group. Josh earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The University of Wyoming and a Master’s degree in Fire and Emergency Management from Oklahoma State University.

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