Honoring each other

As I’ve continued to watch the Olympics, I’ve been interested in seeing how the athletes relate to each other after their turn in their events. Sometimes I’ve been delighted at what I’ve seen…other times disappointed.

Just a few of the situations that have stood out to me…

Michael Phelps: I know that there are some who do not like Phelps, and I know that in the past he has come across as arrogant. But as I watched him in the interviews after the relays he was involved in, he made a point of acknowledging his teammates and the role they played in getting the medals…not claiming that it was all due to his incredible swimming ability.

Gabby Douglas: Her performance on the uneven bars was not what she had planned/hoped for, putting her in last place. But she went over to congratulate her opponents–the medal winners–and then in her interview, she acknowledged that she just didn’t have it. No excuses–but still, that beautiful smile.

Lashinda Demus: It wasn’t just watching her run…it was watching her 4-year-old twin sons yelling and cheering for Mom, and then watching her smile and wave to them after she won her gold medal. A beautiful family!

And then, this one. When Liu Xiang was injured in his qualifying meet for the 110 hurdles race he was the favorite in–the second time in as many Olympics that he’s been hurt–he still didn’t give up. He hopped to the finish line–in last place, but he still finished. And then…this, after he was helped off the track by some of his competitors:

His Hungarian competitor Balazs Baji came to Liu’s side and lifted his arm in the air, the way a boxing referee would acknowledge the winner of a fight.

Winning a medal isn’t the only way one wins at the Olympics. Honoring your opponents achievements–even if you are disappointed in your own–makes you a bigger winner in my eyes.