It’s true. I am an Olympic junkie. I’m kind of glad to get my life back now that the Olympics have ended. I always feel as though I might miss something if I don’t watch them! But the Olympics never disappoint me. A periodic reminder that although we come from all the corners of the earth and sporting different looks and characteristics, different languages, different native dress, different national anthems, we can come together and do something beautiful together.
Yes, the competitions are spectacular displays of the best of the best. As an athlete myself, I marvel at the beauty and power, discipline and drive that all of these athletes display, whether they win a medal or not. Of course, the icing on the cake are those moments when true sportsmanship and what they call the “Olympic Spirit” gets displayed. Those moments when the best of humanity trumps competition and winning. Like when American runner, Abby D’Agostina and New Zealand runner, Nikki Hamblin assisted each other to the finish line of the 5000 meter. Or watching gymnast Aly Raisman encourage and guide the young and talented gymnastic team around the gymnastic floor, encouraging the women and watching their genuine support of one another in spite of the incredible hype given to their teammate Simone Biles. Or my all time favorite this Olympics was seeing the Refugee team compete under the Olympic flag. Especially poignant as our church welcomed a refugee family from the Congo into Winston-Salem just this week.
Of course there has been the opportunity to see some of the very best not just in this 4 year span but maybe ever compete- Usain Bolt running as fast now as he did 12 years ago. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian and the best swimmer I’ve ever seen. It was also nice seeing his maturity over the years and serving as a leader of this swim team, not just an individual chasing after medal records. Katie Ledecky winning so definitively but with such grace. Our own local athlete Kathleen Baker unexpectedly winning with such joy. Simone Biles in her Olympic debut beating gymnasts by 2 points which is like 15 touchdowns in football. Women’s and men’s basketball – looking as if they barely had to try.
So every 2 years when we experience either the Summer or the Winter Olympics I always hope that this display of unity amongst our amazing and beautiful diversity will remind the world that there is a better way. That violence, isolation, xenophobia, and hatred always lead us down a losing path. That it is possible to find common ground and celebrate what is best about our humanity. A girl can dream….
Grace and Peace,