What are they saying about these Olympics?
Two great stories… first, from Dylan Hernandez, a sports columnist with the Los Angeles Times, including his editorial commentary:
“A more appropriate nickname for these so-called Peace Games would be the Geopolitical Public Relations Olympics, as North Korea has claimed gold in media manipulation with a contingent that has included Kim Jong Un’s sister, red-clad cheering sections and low-caliber athletes that have become the subjects of widespread fascination.
In the background of the cynical spectacle, however, the ideals of the Olympics remain very much alive, embodied by anonymous men and women competing in obscure sports, athletes such as Chris Mazdzer, who on Sunday became America’s first-ever male medalist in the luge.
You had probably never heard of Mazdzer, but that’s the point. His silver medal won’t make him an overnight millionaire and, at some point, the 29-year-old will have to find work that doesn’t involve him sliding down his back on ice-covered tracks.
If anything, the absence of money and fame have made the 29-year-old’s journey to the podium all the more meaningful.
‘It’s all about passion, it’s about heart,’ Mazdzer said. ‘That’s what luge is.’”
And second, in the words of newly-donned Pyeongchang gold medalist, Shaun White, reflecting on one, experiencing a serious crash/injury on the slopes, as he prepared for these games:
“… By saying I want to continue on in the sport means that I’m looking at myself in the mirror and saying, ‘if I’m out on the snow again, that means that I’m willing to have that happen again. I’m ready to take that risk.’ And it was a big decision.
From that moment in the hospital in New Zealand ’til like winning the competition, making the [Olympic] team, and a perfect 100 score — I mean, that was truly the comeback story for me, and it just felt so amazing — and so incredible to make that jump back and overcoming the fears and get that score. And now I’m still fired up for this Olympics. This is really icing on the cake, if things go the way I hope they go…”
And two, on disappointedly, not medaling four years ago, and later deciding to train and compete once more:
“People ask, ‘When are you going to get over it?’ You know, the loss or whatever. You don’t, you don’t really ever get over it. It’s kind of like you have a scar from falling off a bike; it’s just with you forever. But you learn from it. So it’s a part of me now, which is great. As hard as it was, I’m thankful that it happened because it taught me a lot.”
Being taught a lot… learning from it… even in heartache and loss.
There is certainly something about these games that is beautiful…
And far more than just a game.