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I have never attended an Olympic event — not even the 2012 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials which are currently taking place at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center. I couldn’t tell you how many competitions or athletes comprise the summer games. All I know is that I plop myself in front of the television every four years for the chance to witness something special.
Something like … Derek Redmond in 1992 Olympics
In the 1992 Olympics, many predicted British runner Derek Redmond would be a contender to win the 400 meter sprint. About 150 meters into the semi-final race, Derek suffered a torn hamstring muscle that he later described as feeling like he’d been “shot in the leg.” Determined to not quit, Derek limped as far as he could on his own – fighting through not only the pain, but also tears of agony and disbelief.
As he entered the home stretch, Derek was joined unexpectedly by his father, who fought security off to join his son on the track. He draped the young runner’s arm around his neck, and helped his son reach the finish line.
This iconic moment in sports epitomizes what it means to dedicate your life to reaching a goal, to not let adversity stop you in your tracks, and to be remembered for never giving up.
Olympic medal winners aren’t idolized as much as professional athletes who routinely pimp themselves out for various media outlets, snagging up corporate sponsorships, and holding out for mega-million dollar contract deals.
(Editor’s note: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is sponsored by Visa and Subway, among others.)
Olympic athletes train for their entire lives, realizing the odds of actually reaching the medal stand are strongly against them. They know their decades of training may never be known outside of their own city or village. They seem to be more interested in proving to themselves over others what they are capable of accomplishing.
If everyone had the attitude of an Olympic athlete – striving to improve one’s self in homage of their country – then society as a whole would be better.
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And if every guy looked like American swimmer and a six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte, well, the world would just be peachy.