Did you watch the Olympics? And the Paralympics?
I LOOOOVE the Olympics. Don’t you? Every time the games roll around, I become a woman obsessed – constantly checking medal standings, waiting for events to happen, and allowing the T.V. to stay on for hours while Olympic coverage blasts all. day. long. This summer was no different. (And, possibly even better, because I was on maternity leave this year… thanks P!) I do enjoy the winter games, too – but there’s something about the summer games that thrills me the most.
Particularly, I love watching gymnastics, diving, synchronized swimming, beach (and regular) volleyball, women’s football (read: soccer), and just recently, I’ve really been impressed by women’s rugby.
In 2012, I’ll never forget being glued to the screen while on vacation at the cottage, watching the Canadian National Women’s soccer team compete for a spot in the gold medal match, only to be thwarted by some clever badgering and questionable refereeing in the semi-final against the U.S.A team. (Admittedly, I might be biased. That’s just my opinion of how the game went – sorry U.S. friends!) And then, in the bronze medal game against France, Diana Matheson scored a surprise last-second goal to secure the bronze medal for Canada. It was truly gratifying and such an incredible moment that I will never forget witnessing. (It makes my eyes water every time I see that replay, of which there have been many!)
This year, there were many outstanding athlete stories and incredible examples of talent, skill, dedication and passion for sport. Like, did you follow the rookie Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, who secured 3 medals at his very first Olympics, after competing in the sport for only a few short years prior? Watching him compete side-by-side with the worlds fastest man, smiling at him as they crossed one of the qualifying races together, was something I will never forget. (Also… have you heard of Simone Biles? If not, you need to google her NOW! She is incredible – and is a name I had never heard of until she made it to this venue.)
But I think what peaks my interest most about the Olympics is how each time, athlete-celebrities emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, showing us how their passion, talent, grit, determination, dedication, will-power, strength, and hard-working bodies have landed them on the Olympic stage, competing to be the best in their sport. More often than not, you have never heard of this person before – but suddenly they are everywhere, showing you what they’re made of. Showing you how many long hours they put in, hustling for YEARS, just to be able to qualify to compete at this level.
It’s such a great reminder about how much you need to kick ass behind the scenes.
How hard you need to work when nobody is watching.
How much time, effort, and energy you need to expend, just to get your 5 minutes of visible glory.
How much you need to hustle, day-in and day-out, in order to excel in your field. (Pardon the pun!)
And so, while we’re only given the highlights, the final rounds, and the best of the best to watch; while we’re reeling as our nation falls out of a race, loses a medal, doesn’t make the cut; while we’re cheering or sobbing over an end result we may or may not have liked… remember how long these athletes have been working their butts off just to make it to the Olympic level.
Remember that there were many, many other athletes who worked just as hard to qualify, and who sadly, didn’t quite make the cut. (You probably don’t know any of their names… yet.)
Remember that the most important thing you can do for yourself, is to hustle like everybody is watching, even when nobody is.
Remember that there is another Olympic games in 4 years, and all those athletes who competed in 2016 (and all the ones who attempted to qualify, but didn’t) have already begun preparing for the 2020 games, and they’ll be doing it quietly and privately without many knowing about it. Like, right now. Right this second. Athletes everywhere are pushing themselves to their limits to perfect their craft for the next qualifying opportunity.
One of my favourite quotes comes from a U.S.A Olympian in her own right, and one who dominated the women’s football scene for many years, Mia Hamm.
“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.”
What are you doing when nobody’s looking?
(If you’re like me, you were watching the Olympics all day… haha! Just kidding. I’m hustling behind the scenes, too. I promise!)
Go get it!
*Image courtesy of Pexels.com