From the beginning, Rio was riddled with negative stories like infrastructure problems, hotels not being ready, athletes being mugged on the streets, and green swimming pools. I don’t want to bring any added attention to these stories, as I believe it is to be expected when hosting Olympic Games, in a city that was already riddled with violence and economic troubles, to begin with. For the most part, the Olympic Games went off without a hitch, and what truly touched me, was seeing the stories of the Olympic spirit, come out on top.
As is expected when watching the Olympics, competition between athletes is fierce and unrelenting. There are only 3 medals in each event, and athletes want nothing more then to bring a medal home for their people. What truly warmed my heart was seeing the camaraderie among athletes during the games.
New Zealand Distance runner Nikki Hamblin, and US runner Abbey D’Agostino, were four laps from the end of the 5000m in Rio when they collided. Both stopped and helped each other finish the race, giving up any chance for a medal, just to make sure both were okay. Another story saw a Chinese diver propose to his medal winning girlfriend, which resulted in an Italian diver and another Chinese diver breaking into to tears and hugging each other on the podium, to celebrate the happiness of the two divers. The camaraderie between Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse and fellow sprinter Usain Bolt is well documented. A passing of the real torch, the spirit of the game, so to speak, as the two sprinters smiled and enjoyed a healthy round of banter with each other after races.
This is what the Olympics are all about, the attitude and dignity that can be. Forget about the scandals, corruption, and the few negative stories, that are dug out every four years. Isn’t this why we watch the Olympics? There is a reason we have coined the term, ‘Olympic spirit.’
These athletes work so hard for a chance to achieve glory for themselves and their country. Some may never get another opportunity, but at the end of the day, if one of their fellow athletes falls, many pull out of the competition to help them up again. This Olympic spirit reminds us all, that even with all of the negative stories bombarding us on a daily basis from around the world, there is always good in the human-spirit. We cannot forget that. We have to continue to fight the good fight, and realize that we are all in this together, even when pitted against each other in intense competition.