Why Olympic athletes really inspire us

Every two years, our family drops everything to watch as much of the Olympics as we can.  It’s been an inspiring two weeks.  (The kids want to take up snowboard cross and figure skating TODAY!)

But WHY are we viewers so inspired?  It’s an important question with a deep answer.  At first we think of the athletes’ fitness levels.  All the competitors they beat.  World and olympic records broken.  Chance overcome.  Number and rank of medals won.  Who’s proven to be the best.

But I see something more powerful and profound.  We are really inspired by what got the athletes there in the first place.  While they have been training so intensely, they have each been on an Olympic spiritual journey. 

And they are waaaaaay ahead of most of us.  That’s inspiring.

Our spiritual journey pushes us through limit after limit.  Eventually we are supposed to notice that limits are illusions.  When you begin to see possibility instead of limitation, you become empowered to choose rare and extraordinary possibilities like competing in the Olympics.  Very few in any field make it to this level.  They join the ranks of those called “world-class”.

These Olympic athletes have tested their limits over and over.  Daily.  Sure, they look good after all those reps, but most of them get the bigger picture.  When they fall down, even in front of millions of viewers, they get back up again.  When they are DQ’ed they say, that’s how it goes sometimes.  When snow conditions change between the first and last competitor, they say, hey that’s snow for you.  When they don’t qualify for the medals round, they are overjoyed to have made it to the Olympics at all.

The spiritual journey is not about winning medals.  It’s about improving yourself over yesterday.  And it’s about having fun.  Personal records become more meaningful than world records (though worlds are great fun!)  Competition with others becomes a formality.  Competition against your own fear and doubt is the real challenge. 

Me, I have days where I fall down and lie there for a while feeling sorry for myself.  Thinking of these athletes helps me pick myself up and try again, just like they do.  I am so grateful for this inspirational boost every two years.

The spiritual journey knows no borders.  As these international games close tonight, let’s carry with us in our hearts the profound spiritual inspiration the athletes have demonstrated so well: 

• Getting up again with grace, celebrating failure as an indication of trying. 
• True teamwork, knowing the group is as strong as its weakest link. 
• Sportsmanship, knowing competition and defeat are illusions.
• Constant personal growth and improvement, knowing our Potential is much greater than we think.
• Self-support, nutrition, and training based on possibility, to get us where we want to be to love our lives.

Thank you to every single Olympic athlete, and to all those who support them!  We appreciate their inspiring journeys.  Now let’s honor them with our own.

  1. So true. They are inspiring and sooo far along on the spiritual path. Loved this post. Love all your posts!

  2. An Important lesson in life. Yes, get up and do it again better with the hope of an improved outcome. Presistance, Faith, and Prayer make the world a little peace of heaven here on earth. Never give up, just talk to smarter people. Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants the best for you. Take action, do some good in this world and Heavenly Father will open the heavenly window of abundance and bless you. Go, and sin no more.

  3. I marvel at their discipline. A key many of us like to overlook.