Posted by Coach Dustin
The closing ceremony for the Olympics was two Sunday evenings ago and I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Every two years, I spend about two weeks watching more television than I have probably watched in the previous entire year and these last two weeks were no exception. I love the anticipation and excitement leading up to the Olympics as we hold our Olympic trials and select our athletes and then nothing beats watching our athletes go head to head against the best in the world. It’s also a rare opportunity to get to know some of the fittest people in the world that otherwise you never hear about.
Here are a few of my favorite Olympic moments from this year: 1) Watching the women’s triathlon come down to a sprint to the finish line which required a photo to determine who crossed first 2) Watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh win a third beach volleyball gold in their last match together 3) Watching the American women’s 4x 100m relay team smash the 27-year old world record 4) Watching Michael Phelps close out an incredible career and 5) Watching a young and unexpected Gabby Douglas win the all-around gymnastics gold medal.
Not only did I enjoy watching the Olympics, but I also learned a few good life lessons from some of the athletes:
1) Michael Phelps- when things don’t go your way, you have two choices to make: move on, learn from it, and use it as motivation or let it crush you. After not even medaling in his first event, he refocused and used it as motivation for the rest of the games and went on to win 4 gold and two silver medals and become the all-time record holder for Olympic medals.
2) Gabby Douglas- your past doesn’t have to predict your future. Gabby was raised by a single mom who at times struggled to even pay her mortgage. At 14 years old, she convinced her mom to let her move across the country to train under one of the top coaches. Little did she know that decision would lead to her becoming the first person of color to win the all-around gold medal.
3) Our marathon team- even the best of the best deal with injuries and setbacks in the biggest moments of their lives. We had six athletes (3 men and 3 women) travel to London to compete in the marathon for us. While they all made it to the start line, only half of them made it to the finish line. The other half dropped out at some point during the race because of injury/nagging pains they didn’t want to turn into an injury.
4)Oscar Pritorius- when you set your mind to it, you can overcome any obstacle. While I know that there is debate over whether he should have been allowed to compete or not, it’s still astounding to see what this double amputee has overcome. Not only did he have to compete against other able bodied athletes to even make it to the Olympics, but he also had to compete against the Olympic committee in getting permission to compete in the games. He had a dream and a goal and was willing to do whatever it took to see it come true.
5) Sarah Attar- don’t worry about what others think, just go out and do your best. The Saudi Arabian knew she had no chance of coming close to winning, but she did all that she could. She didn’t have access to near the amenities that the other athletes had, but she had a goal to compete at the Olympics and she did just that, breaking barriers and becoming the first female to compete in track for her country.
6) Meb Keflezighi- you’re never too old. Many people counted him out saying that at thirty-seven years old he was past his prime. He proved them wrong though, finishing just out of the medals in fourth place.
7) Missy Franklin- as important as competing well is, you have to have fun too. This girl always had a smile on her face and you could see the excitement on her face just to be able to have the experience of the Olympics. Yes, she was a fierce competitor and brought home plenty of hardware to prove it, but at the same time she was able to relish in and enjoy the experience of being an Olympian.
We got to see some incredible athletes accomplish astounding feats, but I’ve realized that oftentimes we aren’t drawn to an athlete only because of what they can do athletically. We are inspired when we see the obstacles that they have overcome and the strength that they have gleaned from those circumstances. You know what they say: “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger."
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