Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Human Element to the Olympics

When I watch the Olympics I am always impressed with the talents and abilities of the athletes. I can only dream of doing the sort of thing that they do. Even though I know the Olympians are human beings, compared to the average man, what they do is so awe-inspiring that it is somewhat super-human.

Because I have that frame of mind, I really like it when I see stories about the athletes' personal lives. It brings them back down to the human level. Here are some of my favorites:

  • The gymnast from Uzbekistan whose son had leukemia. She moved to Germany to get him better medical care and competed for them as a thank-you despite being in her thirties.
  • An American who was profiled in a commercial whose daughter has spina bifida. Unfortunately, I don't know anything else about him, but was touched by that.
  • The weight lifter from Germany whose wife started a savings plan to come to Beijing to watch him compete. She was killed in a car accident several months ago, so when he was awarded the gold medal on the podium he held up her photo for everyone to see.
  • The gymanst from Poland who held up a photo of his son immeadiately after he won the gold medal.
I especially liked the last two because by holding up pictures of their loved ones in their moment of glory, it showed that the medals weren't just about them. They wanted the world to know about these other people whom they cared about and who in one way or another contributed to their victory. I have read of many athletes who said that their victory wasn't for them but for their father, mother, child, etc., and I would rather these people win than the ones (who will remain nameless) who are so arrogant or prideful.


Christine said...

I love those stories as well. The Olympics are amazing. What an amazing world.

Flannery said...

My question of the day: why have you been slacking off on your blog? Here's a discussion question: how have landfills been impacted by the Swiffer cleaning revolution (and it's immediate sequel, the clorox wipe).