A little South African baby boy legs are amputated just below his knees. A Kenyan girl leaves home seeking a way to take care of her family living in poverty. A young African-American girl is forced to train while the process of her parents divorce hovers overhead. She is also faced with the obstacles of being a black girl trying to excel at a sport not normally dominated by blacks. A brash Jamaican boy with a mischievous attitude, went from relative obscurity to being one of the top marketable athletes in the world. What do all the above have in common? They all fought the odds and went on to Olympic glory in 2012. Olympic glory is not defined by a medal, it is the spirit of being there. Of being in the spotlight while dreams are realized.
Some of us see the Olympics as a financial drain and waste of time. Why would any country want to host such a thing when the world is in such economic turmoil? Well after watching a fair bit of the Olympics yesterday, I can say that this thing is bigger than the world’s economy. Bigger than politics and Hollywood. Much bigger.
Oscar Pistorius was the little boy from South Africa born without fibulas, which eventually led to amputations in both legs at the tender age of 11. Despite the setback, he gained the use of special prosthetics that allowed him to take part in sports at a high level, eventually, the Olympics. Oscar qualified for the 400m by placing third in his heat! Quite an accomplishment in itself and one that had never been done before. His story will warm your heart as will his winning and genuine smile. He has faced criticisms in chasing his dream. Critics debated whether he held an unfair advantage with his use of the specialized prosthetics. With Oscar’s performance, children around the world who are living with handicaps can afford to dream and dream big!
Athletes from Kenya and other parts of the world, took the hard road to the Olympics. Their stories leaves you in awe as they tell of their ailing parents and their many children living in huts. The set out to be the best at what they do best, running, knowing that this would provide for them and their loved ones. Inspiring to say the least. After reading their story you will cheer for the Kenyans the next time you watch a race in which they are running.
By now most of us know the story of the darling of the Olympics, Gabby Douglas. Gabby became the first African-American to capture gold in a sport not known for African-American domination, gymnastics. Behind the scenes, Gabby is distracted by the impending divorce of her parents, partly due to her army dad deployment being prolonged. Gabby has fought mental battles on her way to glory. She finds strength in her faith in God and her 10000 watt smile on her face is worth gold. Dreams do come through. Thanks to you and others like you, color never has to be an excuse.
I watched the great Michael Phelps celebrate yet another medal to add to his world record haul, Serena Williams‘ antics as she easily dispensed of her Russian rival, Maria Sharapova. Rosie Maclennan, the Canadian gold medal winner in the trampoline event. Her deceased grandfather was her source of inspiration. The list goes on. Each one has a story to tell and the looks on their faces as they compete and complete tells their own story. Some collapsed on the field, tears flow, the grins broadens. Some thank God and their family, some cry for the loved ones who were not there to share their moment, others cry as their dreams are realized. They encircle themselves with the flags of their countries, patriotism at its best. No losers are here, they are all winners.
Yes, in a time when economic instability is everywhere, this is what the world needs. Let’s all dream. Dreams can come true.
- The Faith of Olympic Champion Gabrielle Douglas and the Strength of Her Mother (wisdomformom.com)