Do you watch the Olympics? I do. I’ve been watching the Olympics since I was a little girl. I actually love that it’s every two years now rather than every four years. I’m not necessarily a sports fanatic. During any ol’ regular year I’ll maybe catch one or two football games. The most regular sports I watch are my kids’ basketball games and fencing tournaments. (I’m the one yelling on the sideline cheering and hollering at the refs. Yep, that’s me.) Anyway, what I love about the Olympics are the up close and personal profiles, learning about the struggles and the heartaches of someone reaching for a dream.
Do you remember that speed skater, Dan Jensen? Back in 1988 in Calgary, he was about to skate for gold in the 500 meter and he learned his sister had died. Then he fell during the race wiping out his dream. But four years later in 1992, he was back. Four years sounds like nothing until you think of the dedication it takes to get up every day for 1,460 days to practice when no one is cheering, when others might be saying, “Why are you doing this?” “Get a real life!” “Get a real job!”, when forgetting your dream makes more sense than pursuing it. But he did it anyway. And in 1992 in Albertville, he again fell, dashing his dreams once more. Then two years later in Norway, he missed winning the gold again and came in 4th place during the 500 meter which was his specialty. But he had one more race left. The 1000 meter. It was to be his last race at the Olympics. He not only won the gold medal but he set a world record. He didn’t give up. He persevered.
That’s what winners do. They run the race set before them. They keep going, they pick themselves up after falling or get back on track after a devastating injury. Elite athletes often have injuries that would destroy most of us. Did you see the Canadian skier, Alexandre Bilodeau, this week and his older brother? He won a gold medal but his brother is battling something bigger and tougher than any mountain.
Amazing stories. Impossible dreams. And yet…they keep trying, they keep going. Last night I was watching the pairs figure skating. The Chinese team, Pang and Tong, were in 4th place and skated to The Impossible Dream. And yet, their dream came true. They skated beautifully and they won a silver medal. They were thrilled. They’d been in 4th place many times and never made it to the podium.
So what does watching the Olympics have to do with me or you? These are elite athletes. They are gifted. But so are you. So am I. Maybe not in sports. Maybe in something else. What is your gift? I believe each of us has a dream. What’s yours? Does it seem impossible? Does it feel impossible? What is the obstacle in your way? Dare to dream and then dare to reach for it! With God, nothing is impossible.