Monday, July 30, 2012

A Lifetime of Training for Just Ten Seconds

Hey all,

If you don't know it, the title is a quote by the great athlete, Jesse Owens, speaking of his incredible performance at the 1936 Summer Olympics.  And while not every event lasts only ten seconds, you understand his point.  So much work for such a small moment in time.

I love the Olympics.  Watch them as much as I can, wherever we are.  I love seeing the different events, groan along with the athletes when they don't make the grade, and cheer when an athlete does something particularly spectacular.

I enjoy both the winter and summer games, and while I am athletic, I wouldn't call myself an athlete.  To me there is a distinction.  I can play baseball, football, badminton, and ping pong.  I can kayak, ski, skate, and shoot both a gun and a bow.  I can run distances and do hurdles.  I can do just about every event possible in the Olympics.  But it's not my life.

And for athletes...for Olympians it is.  It's just that simple.

Along with most of the rest of the world, I watched the opening ceremonies on Friday night.  I laughed at Mr. Bean's antics and grinned at Daniel Craig's Bond and the "Queen" jumping out of a helicopter.  

I sat amazed at the dancing and overall light spectacle and scratched my head over the giant baby. (just what WAS that???)  I cried as I watched the hand off of torches from the old guard to the new, and cheered when the USA made their presence known on the field.  All 500+ of them.
I watched the faces of those athletes who were able to attend the opening ceremonies.  (Personally, I think it's wrong to schedule events so late and so early so they CAN'T attend.  It's part of the Olympic experience and all should be able to be there.)  Each one of them had so much much joy on their faces.  To be a part of the Olympics, even once, has got to be a life changing experience.

I've read stories about those who put their hearts and souls into becoming an Olympian.  And I wish, with all my soul that their experience is everything they dreamed of.  The work...the sacrifice...the time away from loved ones to make it happen, those are already signs of a champion, whether they bring the medal home or not.

I honor them for that.  It's certainly not something I'd want to do.  I don't care enough.  But they do.  You can see it in their eyes.  It's need, pure and simple that burns there.  A need to do their be the best they can be.

An Olympic Champion.

There are so many many sports.  And while I don't agree with all the actual "sports" they have at the Olympics, I honor those who put everything they have into whatever they do.

As I'm writing this, I'm watching sculling, the bike race, badminton, swimming, gymnastics, dressage and judo.  I love to see the crowds cheering for their country.  In a way it brings us all together.  This sporting event where we are in direct competition with each other actually draws us closer as human beings.  We really are all the same.  Even though we may look very different, our hearts beat the same way.  Whether it's the agony of defeat or the thrill of victory, each of us want the athletes to do their best.  To be the best they can be.

And isn't that what the Greeks wished for the games in the first place?

Do you have a favorite sport in the Olympics?  One that makes your heart beat fast?  Did you enjoy the Opening Ceremony?  What did you like or dislike?  Share your thoughts on the 2012 Olympics in the comments below!


CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


Phylis said...

I missed the opening ceremony. I was bummed. I have clicked into and watched the archery, the boats (can't think of what to call them), gymnastics, soccer, field hockey, men's sand volleyball and swimming. Gymnastics has always been a fav of mine. Such grace and athleticism is beautiful. I'm to tall to and have a balance problem so what I did in school was it. lol That's also the activity that broke my thumb. : ) Whoops. I forgot, we even watched the table tennis for a bit. lol

Ray said...

I watched the ceremony. I enjoyed it. Some of it went by so fast I am going to have to watch it again.

For this week my favorites are basketball, women's gymnastics and soccer. I am stuck with cartoon now. Before I came out to the living room with Lexi I was watching the equestrian cross country. One of the riders I saw was Princess Anne's mother. She is pretty good. I don't know the standings, but it was fun watching.

I think that everyone who made the Olympic team is already a champion just for having what it takes to get there.

Any of us who ever get addicted to exercise can understand a little of what they feel. You just have to run, lift, bike, skate or whatever. You just don't do it as well and it doesn't take over completely.

I love to hear the Jesse Owens story every time I am reminded. 1936 Berlin Olympics and Hitler thought only his "Master Race" could be the best. Owens stuck it in his eye.

CJ England said...


I get so nervous watching Gymnastics. Love it, but I can't stand the suspense. LOL

CJ England said...

I love his story too, Ray. A beautiful bit of irony. And I agree, win or lose they are all champions just to get that far.

Maria said...

I enjoy watching the swimming events, the gymnastics and some of the track and field events. I thought the opening ceremonies were okay - they just didn't grab my attention as much this time around as they have in the past.

Phylis said...

I've been watching the swimming and the gymnastics when I can this week. A thought struck me about an Olympian. How do they turn all this intense focus and training down a notch or two when the Olympics are over? This is Michael Phelps last Olympics. How does he convert himself to normal? Normal isn't the right word. But that just popped into my head. All of the athletes that are done competing. What do they do after?

India-Jean Louwe said...

Hi CJ. So far I've enjoyed watching the swimming and basketball. The opening ceremony was just a bit too much for me. I didn't stick around for the end of it. Waiting impatiently for the guys track events to begin :)

CJ England said...

I have to agree, Maria. I thought parts were sorta slow at times. But loved some of it.

CJ England said...

That's a good question, Phylis. The "star" Olympians, those who do really well, usually go on to be announcers or coaches or something, but even then, the focus would change a bit. But the regular Olympians, those who aren't "stars", I wonder what it's like for them once they are just regular people.

CJ England said...

I stress over the swimming, India-Jean. LOL I almost had a coronary when Phleps beat that record. I love track events too. Looking forward to that as well.