The Performance Round-Up

Mark Cavendish wearing a cycling jersey and a beret, pictured with his hands in the air

Redressing the Balance on News

The news headlines are sometimes so consistently depressing that we find ourselves only glancing through them at best. Whether it’s ongoing geo-political wars, a climate-change induced environmental disaster, shootings or riots, cost of living issues, or the latest round of strikes…none of these bring us joy, but they do inspire reflection and a commitment to action.

However, scattered amongst these tales of horror are alternative tales of true positive inspiration. Individuals who have outperformed all expectations and achieved something remarkable. They often don’t feature very high in your news app (if at all!), but they deserve a heap more recognition. So, here’s a rundown of the people who have made it into the ICC Performance Round-Up Headlines this month:

Tim Shaddock and Bella

This remarkable Australian sailor set out from Mexico in April bound for French Polynesia on a small catamaran with his dog Bella. A storm completely immobilised his boat and knocked out all electronic and communication systems within a few weeks of leaving Mexico. He was left drifting in the North Pacific, completely at the whim of the tides and the waves. He managed to survive for two months by collecting rainwater to drink and catching fish to eat raw. Tim’s performance in the face of this huge adversity, particularly being on his own with simply his dog for company, is truly extraordinary. We look forward to hearing more news about these two.

Finlay Andrews

While England cricketer Jonny Bairstow hit the headlines for carrying a gutsy Just Stop Oil protestor off the pitch during the UK Ashes test series, the real performer of the day was steward Finlay Andrews. After tackling the protestor (before Bairstow carried him away), Finlay used the experience to his advantage on LinkedIn. He posted a picture of him intercepting the demonstrator and quipped, “If your team could use someone who isn’t afraid to dive in, I’d absolutely love to connect and appreciate any new connections, conversations, or opportunities!” He went on to describe himself as “unflinching in the face of challenges” and having a “proactive approach when unexpected situations crop up”. We would be very surprised if Finlay doesn’t get multiple job offers after such an innovative approach to demonstrating his transferable skills!

Mark Cavendish

The world-renowned cyclist toed the start line of the Tour de France in early July with the eyes of the cycling world upon him. Would he be able to break Eddy Merck’s long-held record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France? Opinions differed widely but he seemed simply grateful to have been given the opportunity, despite many writing him off as too old / not in his prime / a wild card. Cue a few days of exciting sprint finishes, with Cav finishing in 6th, 5th and 2nd places respectively. Optimism grew, perhaps he could do it? But then, disaster struck when he crashed on stage 8 and had to leave the Tour with a broken collarbone. Mark Cavendish has been competing as a pro since 2005 and has had an incredible career. His performances will be very hard to match and whether he decides to go back to the Tour for ‘one more go’ or not, we doff our caps to him and everything he has achieved. Chapeau!

Marketa Vondrousova

The wonderful Marketa stunned all predictions and became the first unseeded woman to win the Wimbledon women’s singles final last Saturday. Not only did she become champion, she achieved it in straight sets against Ons Jabeur, the sixth seed and bookmakers’ favourite. Marketa has had her fair share of injuries over the past couple of years, but she has persevered and overcome each challenge that has been thrown her way. Both her mental strength and her physical ability shone through in the final – what a performance!

Carlos Alcaraz

Sticking with the Wimbledon theme, we can’t ignore the incredible performance of 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the men’s singles final. Although his opponent, Novak Djokovic, has not been beaten on Centre Court for 10 years, Alcaraz was not phased and he played some incredible tennis, with passing shots that left Djokovic open-mouthed. Does Carlos’ win signal ‘the changing of the guard’, as some pundits have suggested? It certainly puts a fresh name in the front and centre of the headlines and we are excited to watch how his career progresses.

Ashley Paulson

Ashley’s is a little known name unless you are an avid follower of ultra-marathons, but her performance at the Badwater 135 race this month is worthy of a mention. We often talk about the death zone at ICC (above 8,000m on high mountains) but this race was from the other extreme. Competitors run 135 miles through Death Valley – the lowest point on earth, and one of the hottest. Ashley not only won the race, she set the second fastest time ever and the female course record, crossing the line in 21 hours 44 minutes and 35 seconds. She committed 100% to her training, running in incredibly high temperatures and putting in consistently long runs. Her consistent approach to training paid off, and then some. She looked like she could happily keep running at past the finish line – the same could not be said of the majority of other competitors!

Dan Apperley

Dan is a friend of the show here at ICC and we feel that his recent crazy golf achievements need to be recorded in this round-up! Dan was holidaying on the South Coast of England and took part in a hotly anticipated (and more than a little competitive) game of family mini-golf. His (previously un-newsworthy) golfing skills resulted in four hole-in-ones across the course (three consecutive), and the second-best score ever recorded on the course. His name was deservedly added to the leaderboard and a trophy awarded. He messaged us to say, “if that’s not high performance, what is?”. We agree Dan, high performance is evident across many of life’s events.

If you know of any stories of performance that we should include in our next round-up, especially if they haven’t made the news, please let us know!

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