By Simon Ambit
Watching the Olympics these past couple weeks, my family and I found ourselves absolutely captivated on a number of occasions. Watching sports and athletes that we know very little about has once again proven to be inspiring and educational.
Struggling from a tough loss four years ago in Sochi has been a tough road for American snowboarder Shaun White. Overcoming his emotions after the 2014 Olympics and strengthening his mental game was a motivating turning point. And then watching as he battled his way back to the Olympics these past four years, including overcoming a bloody crash during training in the fall of 2017, added to the intensity of last week’s half pipe competition. The competition was incredible, with winners changing places consistently each round. When it came time for Shaun to compete during the final round, he was the final competitor and had to throw down a very impressive run to take home the gold. The pressure and tension were extremely heavy. Opening up with huge back-to-back air-scraping 1440, Shaun completed a textbook run to score 97.75 of 100 possible points to earn an emotional and well deserved gold medal victory.
Another favorite of mine came when Simen Krueger, the skiathlon competitor from Norway, began his cross country race. Simen, a first-time Olympian, began the race in the front half of the pack, but got tangled up by the skier behind him and crashed at the beginning of the race, resulting in a pile-up of multiple skiers. Face down in the snow in a tangled mess, there were commentators who said that was the end for him. By the time Krueger got back to his feet and began skiing again, he was in last place and held a broken ski pole. Krueger hurried to the sideline for a replacement pole and charged off in pursuit of the pack of 67 racers ahead of him. Overcoming incredible odds and battling for 30KM (over 18 miles), Simen Krueger miraculously crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 20 seconds later… in first place!
Both of these stories were so impressive to me. They both showed victory over mind and body. Both of these athletes overcame what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles and did so against the best competition in the world.
I am but a simple man in a small town; and like you, I get set back by challenges in life that seem large and complex at times. It is stories like these that help me to get back up, take a deep breath and push through the fear, the pain and the nerves. I know that we can always try again, that we can always improve, that we can grow from our experiences and that we can not only overcome trials in our lives, but we can master them, conquer them and gain victory.
Life is good, keep striving toward your personal podiums!