Blah Blah Blah, Thoughts

Be Inspired By The Olympics

August 8, 2016

I am definitely not in the best shape. Ok, I’m in pretty terrible shape. I have three rolls on my belly currently. A dimpled butt that is slowly working its way to my upper thigh region. Everyone I know is “eating clean,” going “gluten-free,” and “giving up dairy.” Meanwhile, I’m just here on my couch eating chips from the bag and watching the Olympics.
Yet, I have found some of the stories of this year’s Summer Olympic Games to be inspiring in the most surprising of ways. Sure I could ogle Michael Phelps’s torso for the better half of my adult life. But, it’s not just the physicality of the Olympics that’s getting to me, it’s the spirit in some of the players that’s really striking a chord.
I’ll begin with 41-year old gymnast, Oksana Chusovitna, who is competing in her seventh Olympic games. Now, let me stop you right there. Take a minute, process. 41-7th OLYMPICS!!!!!
Don’t we as women feel like we are dealing with our age on the daily? In regards to my aforementioned falling bottom, there is a voice in my head that says, well that’s because you are getting older. But, here is a woman, Oksana, who is looking age in the face in a sport mainly dominated by pre-pubescent looking tiny nymphs, who says, age is just a number. When I watched her on that vault, the sheer joy she so obviously displayed made me think to myself-stop letting age and circumstance define you.
The other day I felt too embarrassed to walk the beach. Too pale on a beach which was too busy to bring myself to walk my dog. How pathetic is that? But, now when I think of Oksana, I say screw it, I’m going to do what I love, what brings me joy; no matter what.
The other athletes who really moved me were the women’s beach volleyball players from Egypt. When we think of beach volleyball, we undoubtedly think of scantily clad women literally sweating their butts off in the tiniest bikinis ever. Yet, Nada Meawad and Doaa Elghobashy stuck to their beliefs and donned a head hijab and fully clothed uniforms to play against the bikini-clad German team. However, for me, this wasn’t so much about East vs. West or clothed vs. bikini, so much as it was about sticking to what you believe in and culture, but still doing what you love. I thought it took courage and pride to play a sport in a uniform different from everyone else’s. Yet, there they were breaking the mold, breaking the stigma, playing a sport they excelled in which inevitably brought them joy and pride.
And of course lastly, I have found the story of refugee swimmer, Yusra Mardini, beyond uplifting. Over a year ago, Yusra was on a boat filled with refugees trying to escape Syria and land in Turkey. The dinghy’s motor quit and Yusra along with her sister and another woman (the only three that could swim) jumped into the water and pulled the boat to safety. A year later here she is swimming at the Olympics. She did not medal, did not even make it past the qualifying round, but she won my heart and I’m sure the hearts of many. What fortitude and brawn must it have taken to go from near-drowning to swimming in the pool at the Olympics. I can not begin to even imagine. To me, it wasn’t about her “winning” or “medaling” yet the true championing here was the resilience of spirit to overcome and persevere.
All three of these women inspire me in different ways. Their strength, not in their athletic abilities, but in their bold individual characters. They motivate me to not let my circumstances, age, or even mindset get in the way of my dreams or my happiness. I’m sure there are many more stories like these in the Olympics. But, I implore you to watch and find one that resonates with you. Not just for the athletic side, but for the emotional and strength of spirit side as well. If these women can have the courage to bring themselves to compete in the Olympics, what can we bring ourselves to do to fulfill our dreams in our day to day? Let’s break our own molds, our own preconceived notions of age, gender or any thoughts we have holding us back and chase our dreams of gold medals in the games of life.

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