As the closing ceremonies are now just hours away, I can’t help but continue to ponder on these Olympic games and the effect that they have had on me. I have watched and enjoyed and appreciated the games every 4 years since I was a little girl. But this year, things are different and in some ways so much more special and meaningful to me. Or is it just me?
There is no doubt that every Olympian has his or her own story of sacrifice and hard work and dreams of reaching the medals’ podium and we root for our home team members. But this year, there is “something” that has made it extra special and touching for me. Of course, the death of an athlete before the games even began did set a unique tone for the opening ceremonies. And then to hear about the sudden heart attack and death of the mother of one of the skaters just two days later delivered yet another message.
In the Olympics, we see some of the greatest athletes in the world who have followed their dreams. They have worked and trained and sacrificed to reach their goals of making an Olympic team. They have had the help of coaches and parents and families and friends, a support system of monumental proportions and even if they do not receive a medal, that does not diminish in any way the accomplishments that they have made in realizing a personal dream or goal. And we sit here in awe of them, thinking that we could never do something like that. Well, I disagree.
If you listen to the stories of these athletes, it doesn’t take long to realize that we have all gone through some very major events and challenges in our lives to either reach a dream or to overcome an adversity. We have had our own support teams that have helped us through and just because we were not awarded a medal at the end of our journey doesn’t mean that it was any less special or noteworthy. If you think about the hardships that you had to endure to reach your goals, you are no different than any Olympic athlete. It doesn’t matter whether your fight is or was to overcome cancer, to leave an abusive situation, to finance a college education or any other project that you were pursuing, to overcome the loss of another person, etc. You, at some point in your life, and often on more than one occasion, had to do the same things that any Olympic athlete has had to do in order to reach your goals.
So, when you are watching the Olympics or any other sporting event or political race or movie or whatever and you are admiring the accomplishments that someone else has achieved, just stop and think about yourself and understand that none of these other peoples’ accomplishments are any greater than your own. It is all about the human spirit and fighting for those things that are most important to you personally and for those who are around you for whom you wish to fight. And regardless of what anyone else ever accomplishes, it is never as important or of greater importance than what you personally do or accomplish and that is why we are all truly equal.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.