This week marks the 10 year anniversary of the 2002 Olympic games held in Salt Lake City. I was privileged to be a part of the games as a volunteer. In thinking about that time, I remember the televised moments, the newspaper accounts and all the radio commentary. But the thing that stood out the most was how we volunteers felt about the games. I'll never forget the night of the closing ceremonies. Those of us who had been associated with the opening and closing ceremonies were able to stay and see the closing. It was a moment I'll never forget. It was breathtaking, it was amazing, and I didn't have to listen to commentators through the whole thing. It was also heartbreaking when the torch went dark. It was an audible groan around me as we watched those flames die.
The Olympics represent so much more than money to me, and to those of us who volunteered. It's more than just sport. It's heart. The Olympics represent the best of every man and woman. The strength of spirit and heart that everyone on the planet shares. How even in difficult places one can train as an athlete. Amazing stories of how sacrifice had gotten that athlete to the games, or how they had risen above great personal trials, those stories are common during the games. They inspire everyone to attempt greatness.
For the brief period of when the Olympics are going, the average man thinks they can be something. We watch every event (or the chosen few) with bated breath, yelling at judges and calling out encouragement to the chosen representative of our loyalty. We don't know any of these athletes personally - for the most part. We may have never even heard of them before, but their story becomes ours, their triumphs become ours triumphs and we grow together.
Apparently the state of Utah is optioning for another bid to host the games, apparently in 2022. I was shocked to hear that it costs $150,000 just to apply for the honor to host the games. That makes me think that despite the hype that the Olympics are about the human spirit, it's more about the money that can be made. But that's for another blog. ;)
The idea of the Olympic spirit makes me think of one of my writing friends. She has been writing for many years, and has become successful in publishing. Recently she wrote a story about Autism that was printed in the Ensign. Someone that represented a national magazine saw this article, contacted her, and now she is going to write articles for them! I'm so excited for her! But it took many years of writing, reading, learning and keeping things going before it began to work.
It's the human spirit reaching out and showing courage. She's an athlete in the writing sense, and we're all rooting for her. You go, Danyelle! We're all proud of you.
You see...we can all be like her. It's far more attainable than an Olympic dream.