Rio Olympic Gold_Prepare1 Image

Have you ever had the thrill of Victory?

The Agony of Defeat?

When more than 11,000 athletes from 206 countries around the world come together, great things happen. Athletes competed in 306 events in 28 sports.

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games drew to a close Sunday following 17 days of competition. The Rio Games, which marked the first Olympics to be held in South America – saw Team USA top the medal chart in every category for only the seventh time in Olympic history and the first since 1948, leading all nations with 121 medals, including 46 golds, 37 silvers and 38 bronzes.
The U.S. is one of only five nations to have accomplished the feat at the Olympic Games in summer competition and the first to do in 40 years.

Team USA’s 121 medals are the most ever for a U.S. team in a non-boycotted Games, topping the previous high of 110 from Beijing in 2008.



The 2016 Olympic Games has come and gone, with 87 teams winning at least one medal. Of the 87 teams that medaled, 59 were lucky enough to win gold.

Team USA collected the most medals in swimming and track and field, combining for 65 podium finishes across the two sports – the most since 1972 and tied for fourth-best of all time.

Rio Olympics 2016 Medal Count

There were many highs, as well as many lows for the athletes.

Years of training and hard work payed off for some, yet years of toil came down to tears for those who failed to medal, bringing about disappointment. Some with the hope of turning it all around at Tokyo in 2020.

One of the great pleasures of the Olympics is the serendipity — you never know where the best performances or the worst behavior will come from.

We’ve already heard plenty, and deservedly so, about Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles. And way too much about Ryan Lochte.

So as the Rio Games concluded this past Sunday, let’s look at some other athletes who struck an emotional chord and captured the spirit of the Olympics. Or the opposite of that spirit.

Being an ex-athlete for a Division I school. Competition is in my DNA. Sports taught me about persistence, winning, losing, and picking yourself up and pressing on.


On the opening weekend of the Summer Olympics in Rio, the American cyclist Mara Abbott was involved in one of the most riveting and discussed moments of the 2016 Games, when she escaped in a solo breakaway and nearly won gold before she was caught by three chasing riders in the final meters and finished fourth. So close, but yet so far away from GOLD.

Mara Abbott Rio Olympics 2016

Abbott’s daring effort in the race, and her gracious NBC interview afterward, were widely praised.

If nothing else FINISH STRONG!


The United States had never failed to take the gold in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay at a non-boycotted Summer Games, and it was not about to end the streak on Saturday, not in the competitive farewell of the greatest Olympian.

Phelps 23rd Gold

With a 50.33 split, Phelps handed the lead to Nathan Adrian, who held on and gave the Americans the victory in a time of 3 minutes 27.95 seconds, ahead of Britain (3:29.24) and Australia (3:29.93).

“You just have no idea how difficult it is for anybody to win an Olympic gold medal,” said Phelps’s longtime coach, Bob Bowman. “I know Michael’s done it so frequently, it’s really hard to put it in perspective.”

Phelps ended his career with 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds. If he were a country, he would be tied for 38th, with South Africa, for golds won in the Summer Games.


9 Gold Medals in less than 2 minutes. Usain Bolt has competed in his final Olympics here in Rio. This would mark his 3rd trip to the Olympics, and winner of:

  • 100 Meter dash – Gold in all three
  • 200 Meter dash – Gold in all three
  • 4 X 100 Meter Relay – Gold in all three

The United States was disqualified in Rio for a lane violation during a hand off in the 4 X 100 Meter Relay. USA relay team during the past few Olympics has had problems handing off the baton, and it has cost them every time.

Sometimes we can get so focused on the problem, we can’t get it out of our heads, and that’s exactly what we attract in competition, business and our daily lives.

Men’s 100 Meters Run

Men's 100m Final Run Rio Olympics 2016_Prepare1 Image

Women’s 100 Meters Swim

Women's 100m Final Freestyle Rio Olympics 2016_Prepare1 Image

Men’s 100 Meters Freestyle

Men's 100m Final Freestyle Rio Olympics 2016_Prepare1 Image


They say that races can come down to a fraction of a second, allowing you to attain GOLD or go home with the SILVER. Years of training and preparation, lost in .07 tenths of a second.

When Shaunae Miller dove across the finish line in the women’s 400 meters Monday night, she not only claimed an Olympic gold medal but also sparked a heated debate about the ethics of her last-ditch move.

Allyson Felix& Shaunae Miller Rio Olympics 2016

The Bahamian athlete left her feet in the final yards of the race, beating U.S. track star Allyson Felix by 0.07 seconds.

The move that led to a photo finish appeared to be legal. The rules state: “The first athlete whose torso … reaches the vertical plane of the closest edge of the finish line is the winner.”

As for Felix, she may not have bagged the gold she was hoping for, but her silver takes her up to seven Olympic medals in total since 2004 — including four golds. That puts her past Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s record and makes her the most decorated U.S. female track athlete of all time.

Allyson Felix Rio Olympics 2016

What Happens in a Second

One second. It doesn’t sound like much, does it? That’s barely enough time to blink or to take a breath. Less than that to go from GOLD to LAST.

10,450 Coca Colas Consumed


Lightning Strikes 6 Times


Here are some of the things that happen in just one internet second:

Twitter users send out 6,000 tweets every single second, while 1,099 Instagram photos and videos get blasted out—over 95 million each day. No word on how many of these are people talking about what they’re eating at the moment.

But as social networks go, Facebook blows both out of the water—52,083 likes and 3,472 photos are uploaded with each tick of the clock digital marketing firm Zephoria found in its most recent report. Perhaps that’s not surprising for a site that recorded 1.09 billion daily users on average in March 2016, as detailed in Facebook’s latest release of site statistics.


The U.S. women’s gymnastics team was equally spectacular, winning nine medals and surpassing the team’s previous high of eight from the 2008 Games in Beijing and 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Propelled by four medals from individual all-around champion Simone Biles, the nine medals are the most won by any nation since 1972 (Soviet Union, 10).

Widely considered the best gymnast of her generation, Biles became the first American gymnast to win four golds at a single Games, helping Team USA medal in every event for the first time since 1984.

Final Five American Women's Gymnastics Rio 2016_Prepare1 Image

For the last 15 years, the U.S. women’s national team coordinator has methodically molded a once floundering program into a globe-trotting, podium-topping machine. The group of five young women Marta Karolyi lead into Rio Olympic Arena this past Tuesday night for the Olympic team final is perhaps her greatest creation, and a fitting tribute to all she has built before she heads into retirement.

In her 11 Olympics as a coach or leader of a gymnastics team, Marta Karolyi, the often stone-faced and certainly serious coordinator of the United States women’s gymnastics national team, has cried only twice.

Once was at her first Games, in 1976, when she and her husband, Bela, led Nadia Comaneci to a gold medal in the all-around.

The second time was Tuesday, at these Rio Games.

From her seat in the Rio Olympic Arena, just above the balance beam, Karolyi’s eyes grew wet behind her glasses as she watched her squad dominate and win the team gold medal. The American team was dazzling — the best team ever, Karolyi acknowledged afterward — as it won in a landslide over Russia, finishing ahead by 8.2 points, a grand canyon of a gap in asport that calculates margins by thousandths of a point.

Just before the medal ceremony, the United States team ran over to Karolyi to celebrate and shared some news: They finally had come up with a nickname for themselves.

At the 2012 London Games, where her United States team also won gold, it called itself the Fierce Five. This time, the gymnasts told Karolyi, the team wants to be known as the Final Five.


Germany was the heavy favorite for the GOLD in men’s soccer. Entering the GOLD medal match against Brazil, the home country and their iconic sport, had never won GOLD in the Olympics.

Yet most Brazilians will remember 2014 in the World Cup final against Germany. They lost 7-1, the worst loss in their history on such a big stage. Shock, Yes! Embarrassment, Yes!

What was their mindset entering into the GOLD Medal match against Germany? What were the fans in the stadium thinking? What were the people watching across the world thinking?

Brazil scored the first goal, and was up 1-0 at half-time. Then Germany finally scored in the  minute to tie the game at 1-1.

After two even halves and two scoreless extra periods, the game went to penalty kicks — and neither side seemed willing to blink.

Player after player, each shot was greeted with either a shout or a moan from thousands of voices. That scene played out for four goals each — and then when Nils Petersen finally missed on Germany’s fifth try, the arena burst into a full-throated roar. Weverton had read Petersen’s move correctly, diving to his left to stop the shot and send the crowd into euphoria.

Neymar then stepped up to take his country’s penalty shot. He gave the ball a close inspection, placed it in position, and drilled it into the net. The Olympic drought was over, and Brazil had beaten Germany on Brazilian soil, 1-1 (5-4).

It won’t take the sting of a World Cup shellacking away, but it’ll help: Brazil beat Germany in Olympic soccer Saturday, in a win that earns the men’s team their first gold medal.


All Athletes have now left the village and returned home. Many relish in the rewards for all the years of hard work, countless hours of training, and dreams that have now come true. While others will reflect on how to bounce back, how to improve and return victorious at Tokyo in 2020.

Others will have come to the realization that it’s now over. They will have come to grips with a large part of their life is now past and time to chart a new path. Frightening for some, welcome site for others.

Whether its business, life or sports. Winners are those whose “Inner Video” carries a message something like this:

“I can do a variety of thing pretty well. I can try new challenges and be successful. When things don’t go smoothly at first, I keep trying or get more information to do it in a different way until it works out right.”

These are the few, like yourself, who can and usually do learn the most and who can give the most to others from what they’ve learned. They’ve discovered that their imaginations serve as a  life-governing device. That your self-image can’t possibly see yourself doing something or achieving something, you literally cannot do it!

Throughout all of recorded history principles of living have been firmly established and one of the oldest is that Future Actions of each individual are unfailingly determined by the Current Thoughts of that individual.

It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not!

About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!




LinkedIn Profile Tips_Prepare1 Image

Do you know that you only have 7 seconds to make a good impression?

Did you realize that LinkedIn has surpassed 450 million users?

Did you know that adding a professional photo to your profile makes you 14 times more likely to be found on LinkedIn?

Members who list  skills on their LinkedIn profiles receive an average of 17 times more profile views than those who don’t. That fact alone underscores the importance of making your profile shine with a comprehensive list of professional skills and expertise.


Now why are these revelations valuable for you? They highlight the fact that no matter your industry, your counterparts are upping the competitive ante by adding skills to their profiles to showcase their full expertise.

In the past year, LinkedIn members have added more than 400 million skills to their profiles and you don’t want to get left behind in showcasing your best professional brand. Instead, use skills to glean competitive intel from the profiles of your peers.

Are there skills you can add to differentiate yourself or are there areas of expertise you’re seeing that inspire you to learn something new?

Most overused profile word: MOTIVATED

Good news! LinkedIn purchased in April of 2015. It’s easier than ever to upgrade your skills. LinkedIn is rolling out a fresh, new course page that they think you’ll love.

It was designed to make your online learning experience easier and more productive. With over 4,200 courses on, the redesigned course page will help you get where you want to go faster and more efficiently.


One of the most common questions I hear is: “Which means more to have on my LinkedIn Profile, a recommendation or an endorsement?”

The answer is, both. LinkedIn is more than just a place where you find opportunities; it’s a place where opportunities find you. For that to happen you have to put yourself out there (completing your LinkedIn Profile, sharing content, engaging with your network, etc.), and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

Including endorsements and recommendations in your Profile is a great way to complement and confirm the skills and experiences you’ve listed while also catching the eye of potentially interested professional parties.

The right endorsements can go a long way in helping you establish your professional brand — and not all endorsements are created equal.

For example, a Project Management endorsement from an existing colleague is more valuable to a recruiter than a similar endorsement from a high-school friend might be.

It is therefore in your best interest to add the most appropriate skills to your profile and select the most relevant and credible endorsements to show. It is also advisable to keep this in mind when endorsing your connections. Ask yourself, what will really help them the most?


Writing a recommendation lets you drill down into the how and why of your experience working with someone. The golden rule of powerful recommendations is “Show, don’t tell”.

Wouldn’t it be more telling to read how Donna built and motivated her team to achieve stellar results instead of reading that “Donna is a great manager”?

Always remember that the most compelling recommendations tell a story rather than provide empty statements.

A well-done recommendation should describe and give specific examples, whether they reflect someone’s ability to excel under pressure, act as a compassionate leader, succeed as a collaborative team-member or business partner.

For recruiters, future hires or potential business partners, such a recommendation provides an important sign that this connection could be the person they are looking for.

If you’re the one looking to receive recommendations, always begin by identifying the people who know you well and who can best speak to your aptitude for excelling in a particular professional domain, attest to your leadership or management skills or shed light on some of your best accomplishments.


CEO’s now have on average almost 1,000 connections.

Making a professional connection in some ways is a simple action, but it’s a simple action that can have a profound impact on a person’s education and career.

The number of connections you have on LinkedIn matters. Remember, the more first-degree connections you have, the more second- and third-degree connections you have, making you literally one connection away from millions of people.

That’s important because LinkedIn is a massive search engine in which you’ll only show up in your first-, second-, and third-degree connections’ searches. In other words, if you’re not connected with individuals at these levels, you won’t come up in their search results. And only those three levels will show up in your searches.

So if you want to be found on LinkedIn, strategically build your number of first-degree connections. This will exponentially increase the likelihood that LinkedIn search algorithms will find you and place you near the top of search results.

Post Status Updates Daily

It’s important to be active on LinkedIn, and that starts with posting status updates every day. Think of your LinkedIn updates the same way as any social media post. Make sure they add value, talk about your business and include a call to action.

When you consistently stay in the feeds of your connections, there’s more opportunity for them to comment, like and share your posts. This interaction gets you introduced to their connections and gives you one more way to grow your network. When people are sharing and commenting on your stuff, it’s social proof that you’re an expert in your field.

Engage With Your Connections’ Updates

Review your wall regularly and share, comment on and like other people’s updates and long-form posts.

linkedin connection updates

Share and comment on your connections’ updates.

Start relationships with new connections by commenting on their updates. Build an audience by joining the conversation on popular posts in your niche.

This interaction lets people know you exist and gives you more visibility. Some of these people are likely to want to know more about you, leading to new connections.

Post Content to LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform

LinkedIn has a publishing platform that makes it easy to publish attractive posts, look like an expert (three posts are displayed with images at the top of your profile page) and showcase more of what you know and do in a professional format.

publisher posts in a profile view

Three of your posts are displayed at the top of your profile.

One of the key benefits of the publishing platform is that your posts are seen by the entire LinkedIn community, not just your connections, which increases your exposure. Getting noticed by a broader audience will help you build your network by reaching that elusive fourth layer and beyond. Those who normally wouldn’t see your profile in search results will have a chance to find out what you do and how you can help them.

Make sure you publish at least a few times a month to keep your content fresh and current. If you’re not sure what to publish, consider repurposing your blog posts or newsletter content.


When it comes to pursuing GREAT WORK, it’s not what we do that matters, it’s how we do it that can change the trajectory of our careers.

Identify work goals that let you to be you

Sit down and make a list of goals you would like to achieve, with an emphasis on what makes you happy. Include all of your goals, both big and small. If you need ideas for work goals, search on LinkedIn for people in the companies or industries you’re interested in to identify the skills you need to grow in your career, as well as the various career paths others have taken – that you can take, too.

Share your professional story

We all know that your professional brand is critical to success. Showcase your professional identity with a complete LinkedIn profile that highlights your goals, experiences, and skills. A great first step is to add a career-appropriate profile photo – it’s often the first virtual impression you’ll make.

Make it happen

Now that you have the plan, the profile, and the people, go out there and chase great.

Self-belief starts with being authentically who you are. By sharing your professional story with people in your network, you’ll open doors that will propel you forward in your career journey.


  1. Best LinkedIn Practices

  2. LinkedIn is the #1 Social Media Platform for B2B


Make sure it is formatted, clean, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.


Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches.  Make sure you place your most important search or keywords strategically throughout your profile.


Put only your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field.  If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this:  Smith, PhD. John A. (


I recommend a close up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional.  I have seen some artists use artistic renderings of themselves – which is clever if your image is still clear. LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.


LinkedIn is a business-networking site.  Be courteous.  Try to Answer Inmails, messages, and requests for introductions within 72 hours.

Remember your “Please” and Thank you” go a long way.  Don’t be afraid to help someone out.


LinkedIn is a great place to get information, to get connections, to get clients, to get employees.  But follow the golden rule:

  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Don’t spam.
  • Don’t infiltrate email boxes with constant sales messages.
  • Instead share valuable information via your groups, updates and answers and let clients come to you.


“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other. Make sure you put all your keywords in the title section.  Think outside the box.  Consider adding your media channels such as YouTube or Slideshare.


LinkedIn tells you your profile is complete with three  recommendations.  I suggest between 10 – 15.  And when you are asking for recommendations, provide a bulleted list of your:

  • Skills
  • Strengths
  • and services

This will guide people into writing a more specific recommendation.

Set a goal to try at least one or two of these tips each week. You’ll be able to track your success as your number of connections starts to march upward.

Check out this Infographic by Quill


About Blair

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social Media

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion+ in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

 5 Golden Rules for Sharing on Social MediaThe Race is ON! | PREPARE | Get into the Game and WIN!


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