Lesson from the Giro – giving and accepting an apology.

The 2019 edition of the Giro d’Italia is well into its first of three weeks.  Poor weather has been impacting on the riders. An inevitable part of the sport of professional cycling and particularly in the first week of a grand tour is crashing.  This year’s Giro has seen a fair few. This builds nerves and pressure on the riders which only increases in the wet. In a post-race interview with a journalist following an incident on Stage 4, one of the potential winners of the race Mikel Landa, said some fairly inflammatory things about one of the other main contenders, Simon Yates.

Landa was reported as saying ” The F****** Simon Yates is an idiot and he acts like a madman.“.  It was then reported that this had been taken out of context.  Personally I’m not sure what context this may have been appropriate?  People in sport saying things in interviews which they later regret is not that uncommon. However, what I did think was interesting is what happend after the interview.

There can’t be too many people who haven’t said or done something they’ve then regretted.  Chances are your actions would have been fueled by emotion and your ability to act and speak rationally would have momentarily disappeared.  The neuroscience behind behaviour like this points to it being something that is difficult to control in the heat of the moment. Emotional hijacking, however, does not excuse poor behaviour. You are still responsible for what you say and do.

So how does the Landa/Yates situation link to our everyday performance? And what can we learn from what happended next?  For me there are two key points:

  1. Clear up your mess.  When we know we have done something wrong, recognise it, and take corrective action.  In Landa’s case, he took to Twitter to publicly apologise. I hope he would have spoken to Yates directly as well.
  2. Learn to recognise emotions.  If you are the recipient of an apology accept it gracefully.  Perhaps needing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt and observing that what was said initially was more than likely from the persons emotionally fueled brain.

Landa Translation: “Apologize to all fans and especially @SimonYatess for some words taken out of context.”

In the circumstances, I think both Landa and Yates handled themselves well.  And you imagine what could have been a prolonged spat has been put to rest.  It’s worth thinking about how you could apply this to your own approach to dealing with these sort of situations.  Yours might not be visible across international media, however, the principles are likely to be similar. Thinking about how you’d like to respond before you actually need it is something that will really increase the chances of you actually behaving in a way that you’d like to should the need arise.

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