When I think back on the 2014 winter Olympics, I remember mostly the examples of personal sacrifices, goodwill and triumphs of the spirit that were exhibited between the athletes – no matter what country they represented.
These remembrances include the cross country skier who had broken his ski, but was doggedly limping along … determined to finish the race. That’s when the coach of another team came from the sidelines and put a new ski on his boot so that he – although obviously out of medal contention – could finish the race with dignity.
It also includes the sacrifice of a speed skater who gave up his spot in the final – along with his chance at a medal – so that another team member (the team’s best competitor who had literally fallen out of contention) could get a second chance. That skater made the most of his opportunity and went on to win a silver medal for his country.
And, then there was the story of a downhill skier who had placed out of the medals, but was a winner in any way you look at it. To even get to the Olympics, she had to overcome an accident that resulted in a fractured skull, the loss of hearing in one ear, several fractured vertebrae in her neck, and broken ribs – all happening just fourteen months earlier. In addition, since she was no longer sponsored, she reportedly had to raise $150,000 for expenses, in order to participate in the games.
It also reminds me that you don’t need to spend $50billion to find similar examples of bravery, courage, passion and determination. Every day, all around us – no matter where we live – we see stories of such heroism. In fact, professional athletes often say that they would never have achieved their current success without the support of family, friends and their communities. As with anyone’s success, no one does it by themselves. At its best, the Olympics become symbolic of the triumph of the human spirit, everywhere … every day.
Examples in life are not hard to find; all you need to do is look for them: a friend, using grit and determination, worked ten years to achieve her Chartered Accountant’s accreditation – all the while working a full-time day and a part-time evening job – without ever once complaining; a young woman of our acquaintance – working, for years, as a waitress – finally had the courage and bravery to break out on her own … working six days a week, always with a smile … to make her new restaurant a success; and, the bravery of my uncle Earl who displayed so much courage despite being afflicted with MS from an early age and who set a gallant example by focusing his attention on everybody but himself.
“You don’t have to close your eyes to dream / All I see is right in front of me” – Living Out My Dreams by Roch Voisine
I found that the old expression, ‘All that glitters is not gold.’, is not only true, it’s priceless.