Duff Gibson knows a thing or two about winning. He won an Olympic gold medal in skeleton at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino. Now, as a parent watching his kids enter into competitive sport, he’s noticed some alarming trends.
“I got to see their sporting experiences, and on occasion I thought to myself, ‘this is more yelling and more serious than any Olympic team I’ve been involved with’ and it didn’t make sense,” Gibson said.
Gibson believes we’ve failed an entire generation of youth when it comes to sport, focusing too much on winning.
“It’s more about not creating a fear of losing,” Gibson said.
“No one is going to argue that winning isn’t more fun than losing, but it’s really about, ‘do you have a fear of losing? Does it nullify the value of doing something if you don’t win?'”
That’s why Gibson has created a new program called Dark Horse Athletic, designed with an emphasis on multi-sport training focused on athleticism and an environment fueled by fun.
“What this program is about is wanting to put yourself in situations where you’re more likely to lose, because that’s how you challenge yourself, that’s how you grow,” the Calgary firefighter said. “It’s not something to be feared or avoided.”
Gibson has recruited accomplished athletes, including fellow Olympians such as recently retired speed skater Jessica Gregg, to help develop fundamental skills through various training, games and individual and group challenges.
The program began about a month ago with a pilot program using a group of kids, including 14-year-old Lizzy Heaton, who has already experienced the seriousness of sport.
“I’m not ski racing anymore, so what he said by things getting too complicated and competitive and stuff, that’s my reason for why I quit ski racing,” Heaton said.
The inspiration behind the name Dark Horse comes from the definition.
“It’s the one you didn’t expect that ends up winning the race,” Gibson explained. “You do it for the right reasons, you have greater sportsmanship, you do it for the love of it, you put yourself in situations, you’re actually more likely to be successful.”
© 2016 Shaw Media