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The Olympic Spirit: Disney without the Fireworks

Joined: 2/1/2014
Posts: 1
Once every two years, the world’s plethora of nations is pitted against one another in various athletic events that are collectively known as the Olympics. The vast majority of the multicultural spectators of this affair focus on the success of their respective country and their country’s overall medal count as nationalistic tensions flare. Eyes glazed with visions of gold watch athlete after athlete relentlessly justify years of training and dedication flit across their screens, brushing off any athlete that’s not a candidate for a medal. An ostentatious piece of gold becomes the center of attention in the minds of people across the world.

This gold rush blinds viewers to the true heart of the Olympics: the untold stories. The countless hours of training, the teeth-gritting injuries, the opportunities gained and the opportunities lost of every Olympian. All of this is lost to a garish gold medal.

We are presented with hundreds of people just like us who have chosen to dedicate themselves to a sport with a dream to compete in the Olympics, and what do we do? We scorn any who doesn’t fall within the coveted top three spots. I noticed this while watching the Sochi Olympics with my family and friends, as I witnessed those close to me ignore the hard work of every Olympian and direct their focus on the podium. Every Olympian has a story, and every Olympian should be raised up on a podium for their tremendous efforts.

Hundreds of inspirational and mindboggling feats of dedication and perseverance are served to the general public on a silver platter every Olympics, and usually these stories are left to turn cold. Take American speed skater Sugar Todd, a speed skating prodigy from age eight who trained daily for years, tirelessly competed, and even convinced her parents to move across the country for her sport. After qualifying for her first Olympics this year, Sugar Todd felt “immeasurable joy.” After raising money for her parents’ journey to Russia, Sugar Todd skated in Sochi and placed 29th. Instead of being disappointed in her performance, Sugar Todd was elated and proud to make the Olympics. Sugar Todd embodies what a true Olympian should be, and yet the majority of the public haven’t heard her story.

Straight out of a Disney movie, people’s real life dreams that had been manifesting inside of them since childhood were finally coming true, yet no fireworks were shot into the air to emblazon their success and congratulate them on their achievements.

The real Olympic spirit is when you rip away the nationalistic sinew to find the stories of dedication and adversity of each individual athlete, regardless of national affiliation. All Olympians should be viewed as a source of inspiration, spreading the message that dreams really can come true if you work hard enough instead of the idea that winning is above all else. What people should really take from the Olympic spirit is that everybody, with real dedication, can make their dreams come true.
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