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The Olympic Spirit: Pursuing the Dream



Joined: 2/28/2014
Posts: 1
olivialiu
We all have dreams bigger than life itself. However, when that dream seems to be so out of reach, it’s hard to wake up every day feeling excited and motivated to pursue the possibilities. Sometimes, we need a dose of inspiration and every two years, that dose comes in the form of the Olympics. It is such a beautiful thing to watch athletes from all over the world compete with each other and witness their wildest dreams come true. This is what I believe the Olympic spirit is: pursuing your dreams, even when they seem impossible.
The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany during a tumultuous time: the ideology of Nazism was spreading. Hitler wished to ban Jews and blacks from participating in the Olympics. Though the threat of boycotts stopped Hitler from implementing this rule, it was still difficult for Jesse Owens, a black track and field star, to pursue an athletic career; he received plenty of criticism simply because of the color of his skin. He was looked down upon and viewed as inferior because of Aryan supremacy beliefs that were spreading. Many adamantly refused to believe he could defeat white German athletes. Hatred and racism can be excruciatingly difficult to deal with; overwhelming negativity or lack of support has led many a person to give up on their dreams. However, Owens put the hostility he faced behind him and still participated in Olympics. He went on to win an astonishing number of four gold medals and inspired many future generations of athletes.
Female Olympians also showcase their perseverance when it comes to obstacles concerning their gender. For decades, the women’s ski jump was not an Olympic event. Yet, young girls still pursued this sport, knowing that their chances for success were limited. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to train for an Olympic sport, but to professionally train for a sport with limited athletic opportunities requires a whole other level of commitment. Female ski jumpers also had to face plenty of sexist remarks. Critics claimed that the sport was too “manly” for women, and that ski jumping would harm a woman’s ability to reproduce. After years of fighting for equal opportunities, female ski jumpers can now proudly compete in the Olympics.
We have paid much attention to the current Olympics in Sochi; however, we must not forget the Paralympics. The Paralympics truly represent the belief that dreams really do come true. We usually view athletes as the most able-bodied of us, so it seems impossible for a disabled person to be athletic. However, Natalie du Toit disproved this idea when, against all odds, she continued her swimming career after the amputation of one of her legs. Not only did she compete in the Paralympics, but she also was the first amputee to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Beijing: an amazing feat.
The Olympic spirit will always remind us that regardless of the situation, the most impossible of dreams can be achieved.
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