Winning isn’t life or death ... is it?

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Go on admit it. You’re all getting just a little bit excited as the results trickle in from Rio.

I have a confession to make. I haven’t actually managed to watch any of the actual sport yet – a combination of time difference and middle age – but I still scan the news to find out who won what.

And it’s interesting how, in this age of digital communication, the reactions have become every bit as big a part of the story as the sport itself.

Adam Peaty may have swam his way into the record books but what really captured attention? His #Olympicnan, tweeting her pride to the world at her grandson’s achievements, of course.

And who can forget the image tweeted by Ashley McKenzie; curled up in a ball and crying, after being eliminated in the judo competition.

The stories of winning and losing, the emotion behind each victory and each loss, are what makes the Olympics so special. Even those of us for whom running is reserved for those occasions when the bus is just about at the stop and there isn’t another one for an hour can understand that the dedication, focus, commitment and strength needed to win an Olympic medal deserve their reward.

Will it make many of us hit the gym or dig out the running trainers? I’m not so sure. The achievements of Olympians are so for beyond what the rest of us could hope for that it’s perhaps just a little daunting.

But I have been trying to do just a little more exercise, get a little fitter, put a little more into my usually half-hearted visits to the gym, where I find the steam room is much more appealing than the rowing machine.

But my efforts have been inspired by a different sporting success. The story of the Scottish judo star, Stephanie Inglis, who was close to death after a horrific accident in Vietnam, is an amazing one.

You may remember that doctors there gave her a one per cent chance of survival after she suffered head injuries when her skirt caught in the wheel of a motorcycle taxi and pulled her off the bike.

And yet the love of family, the kindness of strangers – who raised more than £327,000 to help – and her own fighting spirit mean she’s back in Scotland, and talking about how determined she is to take up judo again.

To me, it’s a story that fleshes out the stories of those medal-winning athletes we see on the podium.

It’s not just an abstract concept to talk about fighting spirit, self-discipline and focus, qualities Stephanie has in abundance. Qualities that were the difference between life and death.