Congratulations to Our Olympic Athletes

Photo courtesy of Google/New York Times

I am a great fan of the Olympics. I enjoy the competition, the variety of sporting events, the amazing talent of so many global athletes and the sense of sportsmanship and camaraderie of athletes from all over the world. The ceremonies were majestic, and it was inspiring to see the culture of Japan on full display in front of the world.

I also enjoyed watching families gathering to see their sons, daughters, children and parents compete. Some of the watch parties were amazing with so many gathering to see their favorite athlete. It was something that we all could be united about in cheering for our athletes who were giving their all to win gold.

I was also encouraged to see that the commercials were extremely supportive of those who were competing. It seemed that most of the commercials were very inspirational with many of them illustrating how those with disabilities would overcome obstacles so they also could compete. The overall positive tone was a great break from all the discord that floods our political news and related dissonance that fills our social media.

It was glaringly apparent how athletes from all the countries were affirming, polite, respectful and were genuinely supporting each other. The sportsmanship was refreshing to see. It was clear that these international athletes were consummate professionals in how they treated each other even in the face of losing their specific competition. I think it was exceptional to see the true spirit of competition with a sense of respect and honor for each other.

Photo courtesy of Google/WSJ

I heard many athletes who were interviewed after their competition having a degree of both pride and humility. They spoke of how hard the journey was and they complimented their teammates. They also acknowledged the very important role their families and special individuals played in helping them achieve such high goals in the Olympics. It truly felt like a family effort to get them to their life dream!

As I saw the athletes during the closing ceremonies, they were celebrating their medals, enjoying the artistry and fanfare, taking pictures of each other, hugging, celebrating their country and for a moment it felt like we were feeling a sense of unity and pride in our country and our world. We were able to celebrate all that was accomplished in good competition whether we won or lost. 

Perhaps as we encounter the obstacle of the Delta variant spread, we can learn something from the spirit of the Olympic athletes. We desperately need to unify around the health and safety of our children, families and nation. We need the inspiration to join together and support each other like our athletes did. This competition is far more significant in that it is not about medals but about saving human life! 

Gerry Vassar


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