The Olympic Spirit

25 08 2008

I was pretty much an Olympic whore for the last 2 weeks. I watched the closing ceremony tonight and there was a message that I brought away from it that I’d like to hold onto.

Especially in this country, we always focus on what is different about each of us. It’s always male vs female, old vs young, black vs white vs Latino. It’s nice to have the Olympics to remind us that we’re all the same in some ways. We all push ourselves to succeed. We all fail at times. We all have the common threads of life that connect us, whether we’re in the US or on the other side of the world in Beijing.

There were many stories from the Olympics that remind us of important things. It might be the USA Basketball team reminding us that success is nothing without respect. It might be Lolo Jones reminding us that even if we’re great at what we do, one misstep can lead to failure.

There were so many stories of success that didn’t even come with victory. The Georgian athletes showed the courage to keep competing, even as their country was entering a war. There was the the story of the Somalian athletes that could barely train because the rebels threatened to kill them. There was the distance swimmer who swam with one leg missing. She fulfilled her dream in spite of her adversity.

I could go on and on about the lessons that can be learned and the parallels between the past two weeks and our real lives. I think one of the greatest lessons came from Usain Bolt. When he was asked how he would respond to the IOC heads complaining about his showmanship, he simply stated “This is who I am. I’m here to have fun. I’m here to make sure these people have fun.” In spite of his own goals, he didn’t take the whole thing to seriously.

He was just having fun.

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