Grace under pressure, poise, humility, and sportsmanship are traits we saw in scads at the recent Olympic games.
Missy Franklin has been dubbed “as impressive out of the water” as she is in the pool. After winning gold, one of the first things she did was to thank her parents: ”I have the best parents in the entire world: they taught me to love with my whole heart…and to be kind.” She turned down mega endorsements, because in her opinion there was no substitute for being part of a team (a passion which she wishes to pursue in college).
I think however that the true test of a champion occurs not when they win, but in how they handle losing. A prime example of grace was displayed by Aly Raisman, a member of the U.S. gymnastics team (who lost the bronze by one thousandth of a point in the all-around competition). In a televised interview she complimented her teammates, expressed pride with their efforts, and explained that she didn’t need a medal to affirm her performance.
The way she conducted herself was breathtaking to watch. As years passed, I’m not sure how many people would remember if she won the bronze – but I know that her class act performance post game left an indelible mark.
Similarly, when Jordyn Wieber’s teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman competed in the all-around competition, she tweeted “Can’t wait to watch @Aly_Raisman and @gabrielledoug rock the house today at all around finals! I’ll be the loudest cheerleader in the stands.” This is after she herself suffered a disappointing blow, failing to garner a position in the qualifying round.
I was amazed by our athletes’ performance both on and off the competitive arena. They filled me with pride, and they set the bar for exemplary behavior across the board.
Go Team USA!