Thomas Edison once said, "I failed my way to success." In other words he learned from each of his failures continuously streamlining his process till he had blasted through his problem. However, when human beings are involved as part of the problem, then the concept of failure is really only a personal concept rather than a factual one.
This blog entry by Gary Hall is about a presumed failure. A failure that never existed save for in the mind of 12-time, gold medalist, Jenny Thompson. She may have "failed" herself in her dream to grab an individual gold medal, but that failure was a self imposed sentence beyond her control and made her no less of a person or athlete otherwise. I guess in the Olympic moment, ego both trumps and punishes the self.
She is a doctor now, a far higher calling, and she still swims. :-)
I found this link at Lane 9 News: [Link]
The Gary Hall Blog: [Link]