- One second mistake is still not good enough! This is what lies at the bottom of Thierry Gueorgiou’s orienteering philosophy – which he shared with the participants at the Norwegian O-Gala in the middle of November. Based on Gueorgiou’s two long presentations at the O-Gala, World of O presents a few short articles presenting some of the secrets behind Gueorgiou’s success. Many thanks go to Gueorgiou for sharing his presentation slides.
A good illustration of the perfectionist Gueorgiou is the following short story:
- When I started running for the Finnish club Kalevan Rasti, they laughed at me when they saw my control descriptions in which I put up 1 second mistakes [see illustration to the right]. But their attitude soon turned, and they started doing the same themselves. I am not satisfied until there are only zeros along the right edge of that control description.
And as everybody can see – Gueorgiou is getting closer and closer to his “all-zeros” goal.
Thierry Gueorgiou at the Norwegian O-Gala. Picture: Øystein Kvaal Østerbø
PASSIONATE about O’technique
Thierry Gueorgiou’s father had an important role in Thierry’s development as an orienteer. - No training without a map, was the philosophy. Even when running on the track, the map was there. Thierry’s passion about O-technique is also mirrored in the new goal Thierry set after reaching his goal of becoming a World Champion in 2003: To become the best O’technician ever!
Thierry has increased his orienteering training from 170 hours in 1997 to 300 hours in 2007.
Following his fathers philosophy, between 40% and 50% of Thierry’s training has been orienteering since 1997 – quite impressive compared to many others in the world orienteering elite. And also a result of Thierry’s passion about O-technique.
Looking for example at the Norwegian elite, many are satisfied when they get above 20-25%. When looking a Thierry’s training, Thierry has increased his orienteering training from 170 hours in 1997 to 300 hours in 2007. Below you see the development of orienteering training compared to other training between 1997 and 2007:
World Champion in his mind a hundred times
Over the years to come he continued becoming a World Champion in his mind.
At the World Orienteering Champs in France in 1987, Thierry’s dream of being a world champion was born – at the age of 8.
In 1991 at the spectator races of the World Orienteering Champs in Czechoslovakia, Thierry got World Champion in his mind when winning the spectator race in his age category. Over the years to come he continued becoming a World Champion in his mind – playing it before his inner mind time after time.
Until at the World Orienteering Champs in Finland in 2001: After a disappointing 18th place at the short distance in a close to mistake-free race, Thierry for the first time had to admit to himself that maybe he would not be a World Champion after all. - For the first time, I had to admit that my dream couldn’t come true, are Thierry’s words. This lead to Thierry taking his longest break from orienteering ever – a break of several months. Out of this break came Thierry’s rebirth as an orienteer: The “Full speed – no mistake” method – giving higher speed at lower risk. The “Full speed – no mistake” method will be the topic of the next article.
- For the first time, I had to admit that my dream couldn’t come true.
With this technique, Thierry regained his belief in becoming a World Champion – and the next one and a half years he won the 2003 World Championships in Trin, Switzerland over and over again in his mind. - The human brain makes no difference between reality and a mental picture. You have to feel that you are running in your garden. You have to feel that you have already run the World Orienteering Champs a hundred times, is Thierry’s attitude.
- It was “just once more becoming World Champion”.
The ultimate proof about how realistic Thierry’s mental picture of his winning the World Champs was: - When I ran into the finish as a World Champion in Trin in 2003, I was very happy – but not extremely happy. The reason: I had already seen this in my inner mind so many times before. It was “just once more becoming World Champion”.
To be continued with …
- The “Full speed – no mistake” method
- Rebirth as an orienteer: From “slow technique” to “higher speed @ lower risk”
- One general technique valid for all terrain types, mapping styles, …
- They key: Visible & Isolated!
- - It is not on a great day you win the WOC, it is on an average day.
- Orienteering is a game
- Map examples