Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Olympic Adoration

   The Olympics is a celebration of the human condition...showcased on a world stage, by those that would claim a unique banner...but share the same classification: human.

   I absolutely love watching the Olympics. I guess “watching” isn’t quite accurate, I see myself as an active participant in the emotion of it all. The Olympics revives the young athlete in me and sets fire to an inner national pride that leaves me screaming for the home team...but also for the individual achievement of a fellow human being not too far removed from my own circumstance.

Oscar Pistorius
The human condition is that which all of us participate in, either by choice or unwillingly simply because of the fact that we are all human. What has been experienced by one human that cannot be empathized by another through a similar experience? Nothing. There is someone, sometime, that has experienced a similar circumstance, and certainly that has felt a profound emotion related to that circumstance. Enter the Olympics...where we are not just entertained by the sport of it all, but share in the celebration of our humanity.

Kirani James
Look at the story of Oscar Pistorius and witness the human condition. A man with double below-knee amputations and aspirations to compete in the Olympic Games against able-bodied athletes. A story of turning a disadvantage into an opportunity is not new...and no less inspiring with it’s telling. There were forces that rose to crush Oscar’s dream, but Oscar would have none of that and persevered, realizing his goal. As children, many of us were told that the sky was the limit to our dreams and that we could do and become anything we wanted to be. Witness what happens when we never let go of that encouragement.

   Kirani James is the first person from his country of Grenada to
win an Olympic medal. His story does not come with tragedy, but instead the capitalization of birth given gifts. At just 19 years old, he is an Olympic champion. Most would say he is an exception to the human condition, but I say he is the rule. I say everyone is born with a gift of some type and those that make the mark Kirani has are simply the ones that have uncovered and nurtured that pursuit of a dream. It was a special moment at the end of the 400m semi-final when James exchanged name tags with Pistorius...another display of the human condition: respect.

Felix Sanchez
   Felix Sanchez is a two time Olympic gold medalist in the 400m hurdles...winning in Athens 2004 and London 2012. Both medals came with the exact same winning time of 47.63 seconds. At eight years apart, Sanchez, 34 at the time, is the oldest man to win the Olympic 400m title. How many times has it been said that someone is too old to accomplish something? How many times has age overcome our desires for certain goals. It happens, and nothing we can do can stop the aging process...but with hard work and determination, some things thought undoable can be done. Sanchez did it. I watched that race, and I saw Sanchez pull a picture of him and his grandmother from under his uniform...and break down. Loss and sorrow will touch all of’s a staple of being human. Felix channeled those feelings for achievement. How many hearts became one in that golden moment?

Michael Phelps
Anyone watching these Olympic games would be hard pressed to sincerely say they have no idea who Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt are. Usain Bolt is the best sprinter of all time...and Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever. Both are a testament to what can be accomplished when limitations are just imaginary boundaries crushed by the reality of the human condition. Both are just the highlights though.

   The human condition are what the Olympics are all about. Everyone has a story someone else can relate to. Just being at the games is a celebration of accomplishment for the athletes involved...and our viewership is the extended after-party wherein we all share in the festivities of our humanity.

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