Greece’s Paralympian Greg Polychronidis speaks about overcoming failures; from being on the brink of quitting his career to becoming the leading boccia athlete in the world, in the third podcast of A Winning Mindset: Lessons from the Paralympics, official podcast of the International Paralympic Committee, in partnership with Allianz.
Full transcript of the podcast is available here.
Polychronidis opens up on his life, from being born with spinal muscular atrophy in Athens to becoming the leading Greek Paralympian, a gold medal winner and a flag bearer for his nation at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
It’s a story of overcoming losses, inside and outside of sport, and Polychronidis’ experiences and life stories can provide a lesson for all of us on how to win, lose and overdefy the odds.
“I don’t believe there is a person in the world who hasn’t had disappointments and failure. The important thing is how to overcome this. The most important is to find your mistake in order to become stronger and not make the same mistakes.
“We must become stronger from each failure in life and we must appreciate when we succeed. If we do not fail, we will never know the meaning of success. Because to feel success, we must have felt the pain of the failure.”
He talks about sport, setbacks and love, particularly the love he has for his wife Katerina. The two discuss her role as his sport assistant and what that entails, as well as a love that has often been blighted by cynicism, racism and negative attitudes from those around them.
“All Paralympic medals are successes. The competition is so strong that the fact you are on the podium, you must feel very lucky, very happy and very satisfied. Though you are struggling for four years, when you lose the final game, it is like someone is killing you in the most torturing way.
“I felt that in 2008 when I was first in the world rankings, had been in two finals in 2006 where I lost and in 2007, the World Cup, where I lost again. And then the third final in Beijing. It consisted of four ends and in the first end I did a very bad technical mistake which cost me two points. I got it to 2-2 and we had the last end and I lost by one point.
“It was like someone was killing me. It was my third lost final in three years and was one of the worst feelings that I’ve had. But when I was going up to the podium, just as I looked up, I looked around me and saw there were only three of us. And then I knew – I cannot be sad, I must be happy and feel blessed.”
Listen to the entire podcast here.