I Love the Olympics

I love the Olympics!  Ever since I was in high school and on the swimming team, I have watched them.  It doesn’t matter what sport or venue.  I love it all! I wasn’t the best swimmer on the team, but I do know how hard we worked and how many hours it took just to remain on the team.

I love to watch athletes strive for excellence and see them do their best, and, at the Olympic games, some even surpass their own expectations.  It is amazing that records are always broken.  I remember when the 4-minute mile record was broken.  Before that, it seemed an impossible task.  Now the record stands at 3:43.13 set in 1999.

Mary Lou Retton, a former gymnastic all round gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics, says the moves that are being performed today are much more difficult than when she was competing.

In every sport, the athletes get better and better.  When a record has been set, there is always someone who takes on the challenge to break the boundary and set a new one.

My oldest son was an excellent athlete. But, when he entered high school, he was a skinny, underdeveloped kid.  He wanted to be on the track team.  He wanted to be a jumper (long, high, triple) and to be a hurdler.  He was not very good, but he had a great attitude.  He never compared himself to the more experienced members on the team; he only compared himself to, well, himself – his achievements from his last practice.  By the time he was a senior, he was the best jumper on the team and made it to states as a high hurdler and high jumper.

There was one meet where he did learn how important it was to keep his thought focused – high, emotionally up, and positive.  He had learned to pray before every meet and to stay focused on the thought that he was about his Father’s business, his abilities came from God, and was using his talents to glorify Him.  This was the standpoint from which he jumped and raced.

At this particular meet, his foot nicked the first hurdle and I heard an expletive come out of his mouth.  I had never heard him voice such a thing.  With every hurdle he hit came the same expletive and he finished almost last.  After the race he was upset and apologized.

As a mother, however, I did point out that it would have been hard for him to do any better as, with each hurdle he hit, he had allowed his thought to drop. With each expletive, it became harder and harder to clear the hurdles. He had lost the focus as to what he was to accomplish — to honor God.   He admitted he felt he was doing the work and that God had being left out.

Successful athletes and their coaches reiterate that, along with hard work, hours of training, and sacrifice, every sport is 90% mental.

I heard Michael Phelps say in a recent interview that the first Olympics he attended, he got caught up in the hype, all that was going on around him, and who he was meeting up close and personal.  He forgot why he was there and didn’t perform up to his potential.  He has since learned how to focus on what he is there to do, reign in his thinking, and not yield to distractions.

I can’t wait to see if Michael Phelps becomes the winningest Olympian of all time. And, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see if Jamaican, Usain Bolt, can leave the rest of the field in his dust in the 100 meter dash.

Olympic rings photo by pbtpng.org downloaded from google images

Kate Johnson is a Christian Science practitioner and the media, legislative and public contact for Christian Science in the state of Maryland.  She is married and has 4 grown and married children and 2 grandchildren.  She and her husband enjoy hiking, especially with Callie, a Blue Heeler, and riding motorcycles.  She also has the best and most courageous cat, Cleo, who is best friends with a beagle named Maple.  Kate is interested in blogging about health, spirituality, Christian Science, science, the importance of prayer and religion.

 


6 Comments

  1. Thank you, Kate! I’ve never been considered athletic, but i had a wonderful physical healing one time by knowing that I was a mental athlete. What a wonderful help it is to know that all action takes place in divine Mind.

    • Thank you Mary Alice for your comment. That is what I wanted to get across in this blog – that the mental state is most important in any endeavor – sports,in the classroom,on the job, even during social events.

  2. Greatness in sports is achieved all the time but most of the time we see it in the so called major sports. We see amazing dunks in basketball, catches and hits in baseball, fantastic runs in football, because these sports are always being played. The thing about the Olympic games is that most of the athletes train in obscurity for four years to have one moment of the world stage. In other sports one bad day can be erased the next day. No such chance in the Olympics.

    It makes some accomplishments that much more amazing. Last Olympics, when Phelps won eight gold metals, he had obviously trained to be the best in the world, but it took an unbelievable set of circumstances to come together to achieve that result. Teammates helped, coaches helped and still .01 of a second could have changed it all.

    In 1968 Bob Beaman competed in the long jump, an event that usually saw the record broken by fractions of an inch. In that “perfect storm” of training, form, desire, etc he surpassed the previous mark by almost two feet. Greatness achieved in that split second. An instant hero….years in the making.

    • How right you are Mike. Those successes seem instantaneous, but, in the long run- they are “years in the making.” Not only during the Olympics but in daily life, too. God is good and is always supporting us in our endeavors. Mar Baker Eddy has a wonderful statement in her book, Science and Health: “Devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.” It doesn’t say anything about length of time or degree of sacrifice.

  3. My name is Steve Buzash, and I approve this blog…my shift in thought, once I was good enough to compete with top athletes, from personal bests in glorifying god, to beating other competitors, was a downfall physically and mentally. This was a great lesson learned, or should I say, in the making, for it took me years to extract myself from the business of ego-building. There is only one Ego, and that’s God. We are His expressions, His manifestations of performance, all one in Christ, and Christ is His spiritual ideal. I am grateful for all of my lessons..