The Way I See it: Cheering on our Olympians

Columnist Michele Blais tells of her admiration for the Canadian athletes who are competing at the London Olympic Games.

I love watching the Olympics. I cheer, I cry, I yell at the TV, and wish I was there.

Secretly, I wish I could have competed but I have never been good enough or liked any sport enough to work so very hard to get there.

I admire those with both the talent and determination and it takes buckets of  both. Many athletes are talented, but you have to have a deep well of determination, inner strength, commitment, resilience, personal belief in your power, and a great team around you.

The commitment that these athletes and their families, coaches, and their communities make is phenomenal.

I really felt for Simon Whitfield when he was taken out of the triathlon by the horrible fall. He spoke about his wife and their sacrifices and how disappointing this would be. I betcha she was still pretty proud that he was even there in the lineup, in the uniform, present and accounted for.

Athletes take huge risks. There are so many skills that we can use and develop through sports that transfer to daily living, from the training to the competition itself — challenging oneself over and over again to be the best you can be.

There will be many youngsters pretending they are at the Olympics in sports fields, backyards, and streets around the world. Many will be inspired to try to make it to the Olympics and I hope they do.

It’s a dream with a big cost physically, emotionally and financially, but if weren’t for those dreamers no one would be there now. Not only do the athletes dream big, so do the coaches, organizations, and planning committees.

“We’re competitors. We come here and we give it our best and we give ourselves hope,” said the Canadian woman’s wrestling coach.

They give others hope as well.

The Olympics were to be a way to bring nations together with the idea of the sports field being where the battles were fought, and we were together for peace and camaraderie. Duke it out and then meet together, sharing the love of the competition and the sport.

“I believe in the power from the world brought together as one.”

The young man from Cyprus who won the country’s first medal since the country started to compete in 1980 was greeted with a huge welcome when he arrived home. People were cheering, laughing, and dancing in celebrating his silver medal in laser sailing. The Olympics and his win were a distraction from their deep recession and serious troubles.

His medal brings hope of better days ahead.

Hope that there are no bombs, or murders or horrible incidents that have nothing to do with the sports at the games.

There will be enough horrible incidents on the tracks, over the hurdles, equestrian fields, soccer matches, bike races etc. with the athletes. There will also be amazing moments of triumph, best in the world, best 30 in the world, being there, wearing your country’s uniform.

Proud, be proud of our athletes and their teams. Be proud that despite our misplaced battles on the streets and in war zones that we can still come together as nations to celebrate and participate in games –– to play.

I struggle with the costs of hosting an Olympics because there are so many fundamental needs like food, shelter, health care, yet I know that these events have great value as well. And when I hear that little tune “ I Believe”  and Brian Williams’ voice, I perk up, and when I see the red and white uniforms and Canadian flag, I am so proud.

“I believe in the power of you and I.”

–– Michele Blais is a lifestyles columnist for The Morning Star.