The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat - for mere spectators such as myself, those feelings may be a bit hard to come by. We can however, relate (perhaps in some occasions connected to work, relationships, or personal aspirations)… and we can definitely dream! We can also learn invaluable lessons...
That's how the Olympics made an impact on me. I was 5 years old when I first saw Nadia Comaneci on my aunt's Hitachi black-and-white TV. It was the 1976 Montreal Olympics. My aunt, an educator and a staunch advocate of the sports, made us watch the Olympics. It was the women's uneven bars event, part of the artistic gymnastics discipline. The representative from Romania was on. I vividly remember my jaws dropped while watching the graceful yet strong movements of the gymnast on those bars, and went jumping up and down after the performance. Nadia Comaneci was awarded by the judges a perfect 10. It made quite an impression on me.
At that particular time, I got an idea of what "success" meant. Later on my aunt explained how success meant hard work, discipline, practice, and perseverance. It may have been unusual for a five-year old to understand those, but the images of Nadia Comaneci on those uneven bars did it. I completely understood! I still carry with me the lessons my aunt taught me about success. The Olympic Games has been instrumental in showing one illustrious example.
Here is Nadia Comaneci in some of her unforgettable performances, one of which has garnered the first ever perfect score in the uneven bars event (a historical mark in the Olympics). There was even confusion when the score boards flashed 1.0. Since a perfect 10 was not anticipated, the score boards did not display the correct score. Standing ovation ensued after everything was cleared.
The Olympics is not only about countries or athletes competing against one another. It is more about what the human body can achieve. It is about will, endurance, strength, creativity, passion, camaraderie, and sportsmanship. It's a good idea to let your kids watch the Olympics on TV. But be sure to be there with them, and watch those events that are "kid-friendly" such as gymnastics. (There may be some sports that are too "physical", i.e., contact sports, for kids.)
So, what do the Olympics Games mean to me? The Olympics definitely is one great source of inspiration! What about you?