Maine Voices: The Tokyo Olympic Games have had lessons for us all


We watch the Olympic Video games for leisure – to expertise the fun of victory and the agony of defeat, and, for a short time, to stay vicariously by way of different folks’s goals. I additionally suppose we watch the Olympics to see what takeaways are relevant to our personal lives.

Joint gold medalists Mutaz Barshim, proper, of Qatar, and Gianmarco Tamberi, left, of Italy, have fun Aug. 2 following the boys’s excessive leap last on the 2020 Summer time Olympics in Tokyo. The 2 completed in a lifeless warmth and requested to share the gold moderately than interact in a jump-off. Francisco Seco/Related Press

Elite athletes make up a tiny fraction of our world. Most individuals don’t work out in a gymnasium 12 hours a day for his or her occupation. Most individuals don’t have 1000’s of cameras broadcasting their beads of sweat to big-screen televisions across the globe.

However we do all expertise stress. All of us have small victories and defeats. All of us observe paths that we hope will result in success. At instances, we surprise: Are we simply going by way of the motions?

The COVID-19 pandemic upended every day routines for people, households and communities all over the world. Abruptly, we started to understand that there may very well be alternative ways of conducting enterprise, attending college, working, touring, elevating households and balancing lives.

When the vaccines got here out, many organizations seemingly forgot these epiphanies in a rush to “return to the best way issues had been earlier than” or else present glib guarantees of a “new regular.”

However actual change requires greater than lip service and firm statements. It’s actions, along with phrases, and we solely want to take a look at the performances in Tokyo for main examples.

Throughout the Grand Prix Freestyle for equestrian dressage, Steffen Peters of Staff USA performed an upbeat routine to rave music along with his horse Suppenkasper, nicknamed Mopsie, that shortly went viral.

What if a critical sport like dressage could be a little foolish and have enjoyable?

Essentially the most-hyped athlete of the video games, inventive gymnast Simone Biles, withdrew from the crew all-around, the person all-around and the person vault, flooring and uneven bars occasions.

What if the Biggest of All Time can step away to take care of her mental health?

Within the excessive leap, moderately than interact in a jump-off, Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi acknowledged they had been equal in skill and agreed to share the gold medal title.

What if, to ensure that somebody to win, another person doesn’t should lose?

Rising up, I performed aggressive sports activities all year long. By the point I received to highschool, I noticed that I had the facility to make adjustments once I now not discovered success in a selected sport.

Though I used to be captain of the lacrosse crew as a sophomore, I stepped away from the crew as a junior due to a coverage that penalized athletes who wished to take a spring trip. I regarded ahead to touring with my household to Virginia and South Carolina yearly. If I wished to proceed enjoying lacrosse, I’d have needed to sit out video games as a punishment for lacking apply. I selected the seaside.

For many of my childhood, I dreamed of being a WNBA participant. I lived and breathed basketball. I made the varsity crew my junior yr however acquired little or no enjoying time, so I requested to additionally play for junior varsity. Though I attended each varsity apply, sat on the bench for each varsity sport and engaged with all of the team-building actions concerned in highschool athletics, my coach didn’t acknowledge me with a varsity letter on the finish of the season. She mentioned I didn’t get sufficient sport minutes recorded within the books to earn the excellence.

So, the subsequent yr I performed ice hockey.

These experiences demonstrated to me that adults answerable for these packages didn’t see the massive image – they didn’t have a holistic method to understanding how competitors is simply a part of one’s life.

Particularly in America, we are usually laser-focused on outcomes. We predict it’s the job title, the wage, the quick automotive or the gold medal that may guarantee happiness.

We neglect that true happiness comes once we understand our autonomy. It’s our choices, our selections – whether or not we’re athletes or not – that make us really free.


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