LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: The Olympic Flag is handed from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to IOC President Jacques Rogge, who passes it to Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
“Amid bullets in Colorado and Wisconsin, vitriol on the campaign trail…and serious questions about whether we can and will rise to the challenges before us, the Olympics have affirmed that human potential is just about infinite and that the human soul is good.” So says Frank Bruni in a thought provoking op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times.”
While many were cynical about the games, many (hopefully more) were inspired by them. Mr Bruni states “They’ve presented two solid weeks of parables, most of which underscored the great rewards possible when great risk is taken and the prospect of glory on the far side of sacrifice.”
For instance 16-year-old Olympic gymnastic phenom Gabby Douglas’ determination (at age 12!) to leave home (alone!) and travel hundreds of miles to train to realize her dream of Olympic gold.
And South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who ran the 400 meters on two prosthetic legs. After he lost the race to Grenadian runner Kirani James, James swapped nametags with him. Bruni called it “…a gesture of the utmost respect and a poignant illustration of the kind of fellowship that athletic competition at its very best can foster.”
Bruni notes “The Olympics have reminded us that any grand achievement begins with a leap of faith and draws lavishly from a wellspring of pure confidence. And that what has been accomplished to date has no bearing on what can be accomplished in time.” And in these difficult and trying times, that’s a lesson worth remembering.