Beyond watching the Opening Ceremonies and making an occasional inquiry about medal counts, I’ve never been particularly interested in the Olympics. But when my husband recorded twelve straight hours of this year’s games, erasing all my backlogged episodes of House Hunters and Drop Dead Diva, I found myself watching and loving this global spectacle. More importantly, I’ve found wisdom and inspiration in the discipline, courage, elation, and heartbreak these athletes display.
From synchronized diving (my favorite), to the 400m freestyle, I’m find myself totally captivated—jumping up and down in my living room or holding my breath and ringing my hands. These athletes are AMAZING.
On the one hand, watching them from the worn cushions of my couch makes me feel like a dribbling slug. On the other, so much about their journeys, struggles, and triumphs relate to everyday life.
Take, for example, Jordyn Wieber. Reigning world champion, she won’t even be able to compete in the individual all-around gymnastic finals. It’s a new rule I guess—only two people from each country can qualify—and she lost out to her stellar teammates by a few tenths of a point. So she’ll have to watch a handful of LESS talented athletes (who scored LESS than her in the qualifying round) compete to be the Olympic “best”.
Life isn’t fair.
Deserving people don’t always succeed. Some people squeak through the barrier of success on luck alone. (I’m thinking E.L James….)
For her part, I’m sure Jordyn Wieber isn’t giving up. And that’s another lesson. All these athletes have met with failure somewhere along the road. They’re at the Olympics today not because they’re perfect, but because they’re persistent. As I continue to seek representation for my novel (and continue to fall short), I am much in need of such reminders.
Perhaps herein lies the true majesty of the Olympics. These demigod athletes train and compete at a level I can hardly fathom. Nevertheless, they inspire me to be my own Olympian—to work and work hard, to play fair, to embrace the spirit of unity, and to never, ever give up!