I have always been a big fan of watching the Olympics. I find it so exhilarating to watch the top athletes from all over the world compete with each other and showcase their amazing talents in their respective sports. And every time each Olympics comes to a close, I can’t help but feel a bit of sadness over it. Even though I know that there will be another Olympics in a couple years, I still feel a sense of loss in seeing the current Olympics end. There are probably others who feel this way too. That got me to thinking about WHY we feel this loss — after all, it’s ‘just” the Olympics. Or is it?
As I thought more about it, I realized that the Olympics are not just about a bunch of amazing athletes thrilling us with their incredible talents. I believe that there are several reasons why the Olympics draw us in every time. I have listed some of these reasons below:
1. The Olympics help us to remember what our “life passion” is.
Okay, so I am not much of an athlete. But watching the Olympic athletes do what they absolutely LOVE to do inspires me to do what I love to do in my own life — and to focus my time and energy to my own “life passion”.
2. The Olympics help us connect to the excellence that we are capable of.
As I watch the Olympic athletes win their medals, I marvel at the focus, commitment, and daily practice it took for them to get to that point. And then I realize that I have the same ability to create that environment of excellence in pursuing my own life passion.
3. The Olympics help us remember that we need the support of others to achieve our life goals.
I really enjoy watching the behind-the-scenes story of how each athlete made it to the Olympics. Inevitably, there were parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, etc. who were there each step of the way to support and guide the athlete toward their Olympic goal. That helps me keep in mind how much I need (and value) the support of others in my life, as I strive to attain my own life goals.
4. The Olympics help us connect with each other in the thrill of victory.
When Meryl Davis and Charlie White did their nearly-flawless performance that resulted in the first-ever U.S. gold medal in ice dancing, they earned a standing ovation from spectators that came from all over the world. In that moment, it did not matter what country these athletes came from. All that mattered was that everyone in the auditorium experienced a deep sense of admiration for our human capacity to excel and overcome all odds. In that moment, we could all relate to the thrill of perfection and victory.
5. The Olympics also help us connect with each other in the agony of defeat (combined with the thrill of perseverance).
When U.S. ice skater Jeremy Abbott fell hard on his hip during his short program, it did not look like he would be able to get up. However, after several heart-stopping seconds, Abbott did get himself up and finished his program — to the standing ovation of the entire audience of spectators from around the world. In that moment, it did not matter what country Abbott was from. All that mattered was that everyone in the auditorium experienced a deep sense of admiration for the human capacity to persevere, even when it would be so much easier to just give up. In that moment, we could all relate to the thrill of perseverance, even when faced with the agony of defeat.
Ultimately, the Olympics help us connect to our own “Inner Olympian” — the part of us that is capable of both excelling, as well as persevering, in the face of daunting odds. When we can keep both of those aspects of us in mind, we can keep the SPIRIT of the Olympics in our hearts and minds, even after the current Olympics are over.
If you are having a hard time connecting to your own “Inner Olympian”, it may be good to talk with a licensed counselor, who can help you re-connect with your own abilities to persevere and excel in your own life.