I don’t know if you’ve been watching any of the Olympics…but there have been some incredible moments there!
Obviously one of them that everyone is talking about is Michael Phelps and his 8 gold medals. Yes, he is an incredible swimmer, but one of the things I appreciated was his acknowledgement that he couldn’t have done it without his teammates–and his appreciation of them.
Then there’s Dara Torres. Watching her before the finals of the 50-meter freestyle–when you would expect swimmers to be so totally focused on what they needed to do in order to win–she was also aware that another competitor had a problem with her suit and took the initiative to ask the judges to wait to start the race until the suit was fixed (because they didn’t have to delay the race)…and then also went to the other swimmers to keep them calm and focused. What an incredible act of sportsmanship!
There have also been the gracious comments of Shawn Johnson, disappointed at times in her quest for gold, and yet supportive of her teammate Nastia Liukin…and refusing to take reporters’ bait in questions about the ages of the Chinese gymnasts who beat her. And Nastia–who gave her friend and roommate a “go-get-em” hand as they changed places for the floor routine…and who persevered through some marks that were not as high as expected to win the gold and–in some ways–live out both her dream and assuage father’s sense of failure at just barely losing the gold 20 years earlier.
Melanie Roach–the American weightlifter who finds stress relief in lifting twice her weight over her head. Stress relief?!? That would put me in bed for months! And on top of that, she’s dealing with a husband who’s a state representative–and three kids, one of whom is autistic. But she’s found ways to find the balance she needs in order to cope with everything.
And have you seen Usain Bolt from Jamaica in his track competitions? Such a fantastic runner–making his incredible speeds look so simple and easy!
There are so many gifted athletes at the Games–I think they’re all winners just by virtue of being there. I wish there was a way to know all of the “back” stories–the personal stories of why they do what they do. Not just the stories of the medal winners, but also the stories of those who dodge bullets in order to train…who work to train for Olympic events in places where there are no facilities even close to the kinds of venues they’ll be competing in…who have dreams that they are determined to pursue…