Every year, new teams are crowned champions over a wide spectrum of sports, but there are only a handful that will forever echo throughout eternity as conquerors. The Brazilian footballers of the 1960s, the West Indian cricketers of the 1970s and ‘80s, the current New Zealand All Blacks who dominate rugby union; these reigns, as mighty as they appear, pale in comparison to an empire that stretches back to the very beginning. US Swimming has exerted a stranglehold on their sport since the first Olympic Games and haven’t let go since. Thanks to a dominant mindset, they won’t be letting go any time soon.
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In elite sport winning is hard enough, winning time and time again is almost impossible. And yet some teams manage to do it. Throughout history there have been sporting dynasties that dominate their code with an air of impunity. But how do they do it? What is the secret to sustained success? Great British Cycling Team are establishing themselves as a modern dynasty. Few others have swept all before them in consecutive Olympic Games, and with Rio 2016 just a few months away, this era of dominance shows no sign of stopping.
Elite sport is a cut-throat business. Hard work and effort is commended and admired, but the age of the gentleman amateur is over. Winning at all costs and ensuring success is all that athletes, fans, owners, and sponsors care about. Focussing on one's strengths is one way to do it, but there is another, more ruthless avenue to glory. Preying on your opposition's weaknesses might seem low, but it is a tactic that has proved successful for centuries. Tim Mahon, the High Performance Manager for Shooting Australia, speaks to CONQA Sport about Manoeuvre Warfare, and how this military concept can be related to elite sport.