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Teen Trend Report

Poll Results and International Teen Writing Contest Submissions:  5,300+ teen visitors, 321 survey responders, 120+ teen essays about the Olympic Spirit.

What Is the Meaning of the Olympic Spirit?

The Olympic Spirit Writing ContestAs part of our monthly writing contest for teenagers, we asked high school and college students from across the globe to share their thoughts about the meaning of the Olympic Spirit.

Background:  The Sochi games not only signified individual and team competition, they also united the world for 17 days as people all over the world cheered on their athletes and celebrated the hard work and effort needed to compete as elite sportsmen and women.

We wanted to hear our teen bloggers' thoughts and feelings about this year's winter Olympics and in particular the "Olympic Spirit," so we asked them to personalize their thoughts in a 500 word essay.

Some of the additional writing prompt questions we used to spur ideas for the personal essays included...
  • Do you remember the first time you saw the Olympics?
  • Do you have a favorite Olympic moment?
  • What are your thoughts on terroristic threats and increased security at the Olympic games?
  • Are you an athlete? Do you have your own championship moment or do you have a story surrounding the agony of defeat?
  • Does your family watch the Olympics together?
  • From a historical perspective, these games were developed to showcase supreme athleticism, but also to unite the countries in a time of peace. Do you believe the games unite our world?
  • Do you believe that every human being has the potential for greatness?

Read the feedback and essays we received from high school and college students below...

Teen Trend Report Overview:
  • Teen Trend ReportVISITS:  Over 5,300 teens and college students visited the writing contest during the month's writing prompt (February 2014) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international countries.

  • TEENS and SURVEY DATA:  321 students between junior high school and college fully completed the national survey about the Olympics
  • ESSAY THEMES:  Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were collectively revealed by teens and their feelings about the Olympic Spirit. 
  • writing contest summary details

    120+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the "What does the Olympic Spirit mean to you?" writing prompt. 
  • ESSAY WINNER:  Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected. 

PART I Statistics about the Olympics

Before submitting their writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete a survey containing some questions about the Olympics.  Here are the teen statistics from the survey from the students who fully completed the poll...
  • 46.4% of teens like watching the Summer Olympics more.  Compared to students who rated the Winter Olympics higher (10.3%), both equally (26.2%) or those who don't watch the Olympics at all (17.1%).
  • Figure Skating, Snowboarding and Ice Hockey ranked #1, #2, and #3 respectively as the most watched Winter Olympic events on TV by teenagers out of 13 different events provided.  The Nordic Combined ranked last, with less than 1% of teens tuning in to watch.
  • 67% of teens said they participate in sports either at school or through a community activity.
  • 92.2% of teenagers say they are motivated by competition.
  • 34% of students selected the "Spirit of International Unity" for what the Olympics mean the most to them.  Other choices included   Spirit of Champions (12.5%), Spirit of History and Tradition (4.4%), Spirit of Inspiration (32.4%), and Spirit of Competition (16.8%).  This implies teens care more about the international goodwill of the Olympic games over other arching themes, i.e. tradition.
  • 84.1% of young adults say they watch some of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
  • 74%  of teens say their family watches the Olympics.
  • 26.8% of high school and college students created a Tweet or Facebook post about the Olympic Games...but the majority did not (73.2%).
  • 16.5% of teens followed an Olympic athlete on Twitter.  The vast majority did not (83.5%).
  • Teen Trend survey results: OlympicsWho is your favorite all time Olympian (summer or winter games)?  Want to see how all of students answered this open-ended survey question?  To get the full survey results from the teen poll and to read additional answers collected during the teen trend report survey, download the full PDF report here...
To read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to view or save the free download.

SOURCE:  All statistics above were collected by as part of its monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt responses from teens on real world issues.


After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to  From the 120+ qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes emerged:

Themes and Trends from the Essays:  "What does the Olympic Spirit Mean to You?"
  • Writing contest themesInspiration: Teens admired the Olympic athletes for their perseverance and dedication to hard work and the sport they love. They learned from the competitors that no matter how difficult something may be, anything is achievable. Even though not all athletes went home with a medal, all athletes were undoubtedly winners.
  • Unity: Many teens expressed the same sentiment: despite all of the turmoil, disease, and hatred that exists in this world, something special happens every two years: countries from all across the world come together in peace to watch the same Games. For 17 days, countries are able to put aside political tension and focus on competition and fun.
  • Motivation: These teens noted an interesting trend in the Olympic Games: athletes compete for the love of the sport, not a medal. This is an important thing to remember in our everyday lives—do the best possible job you can, and you too will be rewarded.
  • Controversy: With the political turmoil surrounding the Sochi Games, all eyes were on Russia with the hope that the athletes and spectators would be kept safe. Thankfully, they were—but these teens were concerned about other “not so great” things about the Games. These teens were concerned about how fair—or unfair—the system of scoring was, and the harsh anti-gay laws that Russia had just ratified. These teens wondered if—much like happened in the Berlin Games during World War II—it may have been best to protest the Games, and stand up for what’s right.


Teen Bloggers on StageofLife.comImmediately below, you'll find links to the winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying essays from college students and teenagers about the Olympic Spirit.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winner, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner

First Place:
The Olympic Spirit: War Without Blood by hannaheareckson (The Olympics unify us in a way no other event can)

Place Finishers student essay writers2nd Place: 
The Olympic Spirit: A Universal Language by jcb (There are over 6500 languages in the world, but we all speak Olympian)

3rd Place: 
The Olympic Spirit: More Than Just Five Rings by KT (Losing like a winner)

Writing Contest Runners UpRunners Up (in no particular order)

  1. The Olympic Spirit: My Dad’s Curling Addiction by TrevRom (This teen’s dad recorded an obscene amount of curling)
  2. The Olympic Spirit: He Did What?! by icybluehue (The Games celebrate the human spirit as much as the human body)
  3. The Olympic Spirit: Unity on the Ragged Old Couch by allison.cantimbuhan (This teen vividly remembers the London Games)
  4. The Olympic Spirit: Uniting the World by maelee (Kindness is more important than victory)
  5. The Olympic Spirit: Desire Trumps 60 Millimeters by SaGa (The sport is more important than winning)
  6. The Olympic Spirit: Making a Comeback by Lanilynn99 (This teen was inspired to work harder in a tough competition)
  7. The Olympic Spirit: The Power of Perseverance by toucan (The Olympics aren’t about winning a medal) writing contest submissions

Read teen essays from national writing contest

Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the Writing Contest - "The Olympic Spirit - What does the Olympic Spirit Mean to You?"

The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly teen writing contest...

The Athletes


1.   The Olympic Spirit: Raises the Divine by larciniaga23 (Olympic athletes are great role models)

2.   The Olympic Spirit: A Dream of Accomplishment by carrington_curphy (This teen would love to compete in the Olympics)

3.   The Olympic Spirit: Determination and Unity by SofiyaR (Sportsmanship is more important than winning)

4.   The Olympic Spirit by Shelbs103 (This teen remembers watching swimming in 2012)

5.   The Olympic Spirit: Earning It and Honoring It by Annie24 (This teen wants to compete in dressage)

6.   The Olympic Spirit: Perseverance by Dania Pagarkar (These athletes work hard to excel)\

7.   The Olympic Spirit by natashaleemason (Gabby Douglas wanted to be an Olympian since she was a kid)

8.   The Olympic Spirit by Lizzie1999 (The people who watch the athletes during the Games are part of the Spirit)

9.   The Olympic Spirit by Bubbles (Ice skating is the prettiest and most relaxing sport)

10. The Olympic Spirit: Equality by nihar.reddy (This teen remembers a defining moment at the 1936 Olympics)

11. The Olympic Spirit: Bringing the World Together by Amorgan (This teen wanted to be the next Carly Patterson)

12. The Olympic Spirit: A Cinderella Story? By No Means! by annahuebner (Athletes work extremely hard to get where they are)

13. The Olympic Spirit by emilysam (It must be amazing to receive a gold medal)

14. The Olympic Spirit: Uniting Competition by cathy12ize (This teen remembers watching Shaun White win gold)

15. The Olympic Spirit: The Rush by nedaskier (Watching the events is magical)

16. The Olympic Spirit: Nationalistic Pride by radiancewithin (During the Olympics, we all fiercely root for our home countries)

17. The Olympic Spirit: A Laurel Wreath at the End of the Tunnel by GeorgiaReilly (The Games distract us from our lives)

18. The Olympic Spirit: The world on the edge of its seat by terryyoon (Do people take competition too seriously?)

19. The Olympic Spirit: My Dad’s Curling Addiction by TrevRom (This teen’s dad recorded an obscene amount of curling)

20. The Olympic Spirit: When Heroes Fall by DaniLedge (This teen was disappointed by Shaun White’s performance)

21. The Olympic Spirit: A Human’s Passion is Greater than Gold by mnathanson1 (The athlete from Equatorial New Guinea is a perfect embodiment of the spirit of the Games)

22. The Olympic Spirit: Strength and Perseverance by marinahettick (This teen is inspired by her favorite athletes)

23. The Olympic Spirit: Newfound Inspiration by deidrellnoraine (The Games taught this teen some important life lessons)

24. The Olympic Spirit: Hot, Cool, Mine by xmyangx (This teen advises against getting too swept up in Olympic Fever)

25. The Olympic Spirit: The Effect on Us All by ninabean (The community of the Games makes it less about competition)

26. The Olympic Spirit by ladyd3000 (Athletes who tirelessly train for the Games are inspiring)

27. The Olympic Spirit: The Flame of Humanity by extracredit_APEL (Humanity is capable of being physically and mentally stronger)

28. The Olympic Spirit by khushboo savita (This teen admires the strength of the athletes)

29. The Olympic Spirit: Jason’s Smile by HarpyTheSharpie (If you compete in the Games, you are already a winner)

30. The Olympic Spirit by peter (Athletes need just try their best to be a winner)

31. The Olympic Spirit: Disney Without the Fireworks by jacobe5929 (Focus less on the gold, and more on the athletes)

32. The Olympic Spirit: Worldwide Opportunity by hlehrke45 (This teen admires how the athletes never give up)

33. The Olympic Spirit: Hope for Humanity by julia1997 (Race or gender don’t matter in the Games)


The Bonding

1.   The Olympic Spirit: War Without Blood by hannaheareckson (The Olympics unify us in a way no other event can)

2.   The Olympic Spirit: A Common Ground by wevegotthesedays (The world has its differences, but we come together during this special time)

3.   The Olympic Spirit: When the Nation Joins as One by lbs96 (This teen was on vacation when she discovered her love for the Olympics)

4.   The Olympic Spirit: Pride and Unity by tsealy (The Olympics are a unifying event)

5.   The Olympic Spirit: Universal Firework by Ebony18 (The world has so many problems, but we put them aside for the Olympics)

6.   The Olympic Spirit: A Uniting Force by cmarlin7 (The Olympics are a time of peace in a violent world)

7.   The Olympic Spirit: Pride by Alibal418 (People feel a part of something special during this time)

8.   The Olympic Spirit: To take part and unite nations by kakumittal23 (Games can solve differences)

9.   The Olympic Spirit: More Than It Seems by starlingem (The spirit of the games is why we keep watching)

10. The Olympic Spirit: He Did What?! by icybluehue (The Games celebrate the human spirit as much as the human body)

11. The Olympic Spirit: An unseen power by Wikidnezz (This teen doesn’t watch The Olympics, but marvels at how it brings people together)

12. The Olympic Spirit: In My Eyes by biznatchmegan19 (Loving the game is important)

13. The Olympic Spirit: The Triumph of Unity by coolio237 (The Olympics and politics should not mix)

14. The Olympic Spirit: What It Means To Me by akhilac1248 (During the Games, we are all Olympians)

15. The Olympic Spirit: National Pride and Cultural Acceptance by OZ13 (The Olympic Games are a great peek into another culture)

16. The Olympic Spirit: Bringing People Closer Together by lilbassgoalie (This teen feels immense pride rooting for Team USA)

17. The Olympic Spirit: Bringing Us Together Through Sports by rohanmenon22 (Friendly competition dominates the games)

18. The Olympic Spirit: Captivating the World and Promoting Interconnectedness by Sara7272 (Families across the world watch the same
events as we do)

19. The Olympic Spirit: Who Cares?! by elyyay (This teen hopes the Olympics continue forever)

20. The Olympic Spirit: A Universal Language by jcb (There are over 6500 languages in the world, but we all speak Olympian)

21. The Olympic Spirit: Pride and Patriotism by megumi (The Olympics uniquely unites people)

22. The Olympic Spirit: Sharing Dreams by Rachdle (We all win some, we all lose some)

23. The Olympic Spirit: The Torch in Our Hearts by davidsgirl1 (Everyone around the world is affected by the Games)

24. The Olympic Spirit: International Connection by SuejeanC (This teen recalls her mother’s stories about the Games in Seoul)

25. The Olympic Spirit: Inspiring Nations by kajalpatel877 (Olympians inspire people to do and be better)

26. The Olympic Spirit: Inspiring and Bringing People Together by Emmahunter123 (New friendships could be formed during the Games)

27. The Olympic Spirit: The World Unites by hannah.vollet (People from all around the world come together to share in this special event)

28. The Olympic Spirit: Grandeur is Burned into Souls by KatieJ (Greatness does not always mean gold)

29. The Olympic Spirit: Harmony Among Nations by erinxz (The Olympics are capable of dissolving stress)

30. The Olympic Spirit: Peace, Love, Unity by jimmynguyenn (This break dancing teen feels like an Olympic athlete)

31. The Olympic Spirit: What It Means to Me: Peace, Unity, and Trust by fornlo (The logo itself is a symbol of peace and unity)

32. The Olympic Spirit: National Unity by arp-arp (This teen felt conflicted about which country to root for: the US or Russia)

33. The Olympic Spirit: Periods of Unity by chilipino9 (Every two years, the world comes together for the Games)

34. The Olympic Spirit: National Pride by jillwarren (This teen recalls grade school recess)

35. The Olympic Spirit: Olympic Inspiration by mkearns562 (The Games give hope to people)

36. The Olympic Spirit: I’m Not Talking the Competition Part by Sally Yen (While this teen admits she doesn’t love the Games, she appreciates
the spirit)

37. The Olympic Spirit: Unity on the Ragged Old Couch by allison.cantimbuhan (This teen vividly remembers the London Games)

38. The Olympic Spirit: Uniting the World by maelee (Kindness is more important than victory)

39. The Olympic Spirit: The true spirit of the Olympics by k.p.thomas (The Olympics represent growing globalization)

40. The Olympic Spirit: A Time for Peace by leanneg (Every athlete deserves a gold medal)

41. The Olympic Spirit: Peace and Unification by chooj (The Games bring about a spirit of peace)

42. The Olympic Spirit: Peace by 20177034 (All countries are treated as equals during the Games)

43. The Olympic Spirit: A Dual Identity by puffdaddy (This teen felt proud to be both American and Chinese during the 2008 Games)

44. The Olympic Spirit: International Unity by michellel97 (This teen feels globally connected)

45. The Olympic Spirit: Inspiration by mzhang1222 (This teen competes in the Science Olympiad)

46. The Olympic Spirit: International Unity by Kwokwai (Every two years, the world comes together for something amazing)

47. The Olympic Spirit: So Much More Than Just Games by ggoldfeder (The Games promote unity and peace)

48. The Olympic Spirit: Unity by missannat08 (Global spirit connects us all together)

49. The Olympic Spirit: An Optimist’s World United by PHILosophical (The unity may be temporary, but it is inspiring)

50. The Olympic Spirit: Uniting Us by bperry (The world may be messy, but the Games show strength in unity)


The Motivation


1.     The Olympic Spirit: Running Through Life by scottij16 (Expect the best, and do the best)

2.     The Olympic Spirit: Determination, Passion by Sharon A. (The athletes are determined to win, and we should also be determined in life)

3.     The Olympic Spirit: Inspires many around the world by FinlandUSAMolly (The Olympics inspired her to pursue her dreams as a writer)

4.     The Olympic Spirit: Creating and Crushing Dreams by gracewel (Even though we may not win medals, our lives are just as important as the athletes’ lives)

5.     The Olympic Spirit: My Time by Shringi (She wanted to be an Olympic swimmer)

6.     The Olympic Spirit: Desire Trumps 60 Millimeters by SaGa (The sport is more important than winning)

7.     The Olympic Spirit: Within Us All by PerriValRab (We can all be great if we just try)

8.     The Olympic Spirit: It’s not just in sports by NH (This teen tells the tale of a North Korean prisoner who found a better life)

9.     The Olympic Spirit: Don’t second guess yourself by destiny marie (Anyone can do anything they put their mind to)

10.  The Olympic Spirit by Endless Love (Inspiration and dedication are part of the Spirit)

11.  The Olympic Spirit: Making a Comeback by Lanilynn99 (This teen was inspired to work harder in a tough competition)

12.  The Olympic Spirit: Competition by DaytonSkate98 (Competing in a sport is more about fun, and less about winning)

13.  The Olympic Spirit: Inspiration by allison62997 (This teen isn’t an athlete, but is inspired to compete)

14.  The Olympic Spirit: Stick With It by cynthisizer (This teen applies Olympic lessons to her lacrosse game)

15.  The Olympic Spirit: A Champion of Inspiration by 1810108 (This teen admires Khalfani Muhammad)

16.  The Olympic Spirit: Reaching My Potential by tracytuong (She is reminded to work hard and overcome obstacles)

17.  The Olympic Spirit: Unity and Inspiration by shaniehuynh (This teen is motivated to perform better)

18.  The Olympic Spirit: Pursue Your Dreams by Niya (The athletes show that anything is possible)

19.  The Olympic Spirit: World Peace by AsianEric (Wars could be settled through the Games)

20.  The Olympic Spirit: The Drive by Poison_Ivy97 (Athletes compete for the love of the Game, not money)

21.  The Olympic Spirit: Inspiring Normal People by tsimawang (Ordinary people can do amazing things)

22.  The Olympic Spirit: It Is In Us All by jsoftballj (We can all be great like Olympians)

23.  The Olympic Spirit: The Inspiration They Give to Everyone by themadhatter127 (We can take inspiration from the athletes)

24.  The Olympic Spirit: Pursuing the Dream by olivialiu (The athletes break down barriers and show us anything is possible)

25.  The Olympic Spirit: A Gold in Passion by KristenH16 (This teen doesn’t have Olympic goals, but is in awe of those who do)

26.  The Olympic Spirit: The Power of Perseverance by toucan (The Olympics aren’t about winning a medal)

27.  The Olympic Spirit: Achieving a Life Long Dream by Armando (This teen was inspired to work harder in rugby)


The Not So Great


1.     The Olympic Spirit: More Than Just Five Rings by KT (Losing like a Winner)

2.     The Olympic Spirit: More About The Medals by horsesrunwild34 (The same countries place every Games—but if you are at the Olympics, it is already a win)

3.     The Olympic Spirit: Pain behind Smiles by Janey (Is the pain of training worth it to win a gold medal?)

4.     The Olympic Spirit by selena (This teen thinks the winter sports are boring to watch)

5.     The Olympic Spirit by taylor.defa.11 (The Spirit of the Games may be forgotten, but it’s not lost forever)

6.     The Olympic Spirit by VanessaP (This teen admires the athletes, and knows it’s important they must be safe)

7.     The Olympic Spirit: Fair Competition by Jung Ho (The scoring for each event should be clearer and more open)

8.     The Olympic Spirit: Bravery by umamv5 (Countries stand up for what they believe in)

9.     The Olympic Spirit: Uniting Nations by aliengelhardt (We need to prevent terrorist attacks or threats on the Games)

10.  The Olympic Spirit: Our Wholehearted Attempt for the Greater Games by ECEdwards27 (Much of the Games focus on competition and flamboyant performances, rather than the amazing athletes)

11.  The Olympic Spirit: Make it About the Sports Please by twilightrose31 (Often times, the Games are overshadowed by politics)

    Writing contests on StageofLife.comWriting Contests on Stage of Life hosts educational, national, monthly writing and blogging contests for teens and college students.  In its mission to provide students an authentic community to share their opinions and publish their ideas, will strive to continue its commitment to giving teens and college students a larger voice. 

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