Thursday, February 18, 2010


As I was watching the Olympics programming recently it seemed to me that I should write something about champions. I listened to the commentators tell of some of the challenges Olympic competitors have gone through in order to simply get to the Olympics, let alone contest for a medal placement. To the greater number of participants who will not achieve medal recognition, l commend them for their effort. I could not imagine myself racing downhill on icy slopes at 90 miles per hour! Great heavens! How can anyone have the courage to embrace such a feat? Many have struggled for years with broken bones and bodies through rigorous training just so they could realize the dream of being there!

We all know, they all know, that everyone cannot win a medal. We may have our favorites; the ones we follow and hope will win the honors. That is part of the sport. The competition would be much less satisfying without the audience. I was thrilled as Shaun White gained the gold for his half-pipe snowboard feats. I watched with some trepidation as Lindsay Vonn catapulted in the downhill after several of those who preceded her crashed violently, fortunately without serious injury. Even in figure skating there is the constant possibility of missing the triple axle and especially the quad, if it is attempted, and seriously injuring the body. In a half-split second the athlete’s life can hang in the balance. And yet they courageously continue to compete, to reach for the excellence that will be rewarded by a simple medal and the playing the nation’s national anthem.

It is important that we have the opportunity to view and to participate in challenging sports events. We are reminded, if we look, that great effort precedes success in sporting events. Individual excellence and team excellence comes at a high price of years of work, planning, devotion and courage to extend beyond the norm. Indeed, excellence implies something beyond the norm.

Today I received another of those emails that cries out to be shared. Even though I try to be judicious in what I send on to others, the one I received today accompanying my Olympics viewing, showed yet another form of excellence and courage. It demonstrates an extraordinary ability to overcome the severest of challenges. I invite you to view this video clip. Even if you have seen it before, it is well worth another view. 

You tell me. Who are the champions and what makes them so? I believe that to the extent I am able to identify with the courage, perseverance and success of these outstanding athletes and apparently disadvantaged persons, I, too, can become a champion in my own life. I may not ski the slopes or do fantastic half-pipe maneuvers, or even skate in a steady line without falling. But if I can dream, if I can believe, if I will practice courageous thinking and living, I will surmount the challenges I face, whatever they may be. My challenges fade quickly as I realize what so many others have faced and overcome. We are all capable of bringing forth our champion characteristics and I honor and praise the champion within each and every one of us!