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Dr. Mandelbaum for Thrive Global: Is 'Winning at all Costs' Really Winning at All?


As an orthopedic surgeon, I have had the rare and distinct honor to serve as a medical professional at countless sideline professional sporting events, World Cup competitions, international Olympic and Special Olympic Games. These fantastic experiences have provided me a unique perspective on the mindset of athletes, what they endure, how they persevere and ultimately overcome adversity. I’ve written extensively on my viewpoint of athletes in my book The Win Within – Capturing Your Victorious Spirit and hold fast to the notion that all humans were designed to be competitors, if not in the life of sport, then most certainly the sport of life.

Today, midway through the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, games that were postponed by a worldwide pandemic that’s still raging, I can’t help but continue to marvel at our American athletes. The United States of America, according to the International Olympic Committee website, “is the most successful nation in the history of the Olympic Games.” These athletes’ grit, endurance, and honesty are what humanity always needs, especially right now. Already, we’ve seen the American teams shatter Olympic records in swimming, be decorated with nearly 40 medals so far in a wide range of events, and persevere through what was arguably the most grueling, uncertain, and perhaps frightening pandemic year training for these games.

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