The quote in the title of this entry comes from a speech from the Olympic opening ceremonies, that we can all of us aspire to be olympians in our own lives and communities. It’s a great sentiment because watching as much of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games this long weekend… they have SUPER HUMAN POWERS. And they make everything they do look like a cinch. Flips in the air and dancing on ice, clearing lengthy laps on skates in just a few minutes… it’s just incredible what these people can physically do.
But there’s so much more to being an athlete than intensely pristine physicality. For example, I was watching the pairs figure skating short program last night and seeing someone with such pressure on them like Dube and Davison for example, fall in front of all those people, right onto bare ice and then standing back up again and completing the program as though nothing had happened is something that I would like to bring into my own life, the spirit of attacking something, even when there isn’t a “point” anymore. The point of starting something is finishing it — who knows that better than an Olympic athlete? And trying your best all the time and having no regrets… seeing Jennifer Heil miss the gold by THAT much and still be stoked on life about her second place success is completely inspiring. She set an example a couple of days ago that everyone should follow, of knowing you did superlatively well, even when others were better. I respect her and admire her silver finish just as much as Alexandre Bilodeau’s gold. And what a performance by Kristina Groves — no one expected her to place in that event, not her best one — and there she was, soaring into the Bronze podium position, defying the odds and grinning from ear to ear about it right after. These three athletes are more than just winners, they’re HEROES to everyone in this country.
Being an olympian in one’s own life is an adopted psychology; “I can do my best all the time”; “I won’t give up EVER”; “I’ll always finish what I started”; “I’ll show good sportsmanship, ask for help, admit defeat, look to my peers for inspiration and advice”; “I won’t let pressure get to me”; “I’ll do my best and that’s all anyone expects of me”; “I’ll gain inspiration from those who are better than me, not fear or jealousy or anger”. That’s what being an olympian is to me. It’s being strong, pushing through adversity, working hard, finding small victories in even big defeats. It’s looking at yourself and saying, “I’m here and I did it”. It’s looking back on past successes and realizing that your life is worth celebrating.
I love the olympics if only because it’s a reminder of true, unabridged GLORY and a global community, and all of these qualities of camaraderie and sportsmanship. When the whole country is cheering for the same team, we can all relate to and support each other, and be reminded of these superstars, the best in the world, all competing on – this time – OUR turf. It’s beautiful. Something I aspire to, something I’m finding inspiration in every single day.