Running as fast as I can since '93
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Wrestling with Olympic Dreams

    Posted on February 12th, 2013

    Wrestling, one of the earliest and most elemental Olympic sports, was dropped from the Summer Games on Tuesday in a stunning and widely criticized decision by the International Olympic Committee. (The New York Times)

    I am a fan of The Olympic Games; I love everything about the Games, and everything that they stand for. They are the pinnacle of competition, perhaps the most ethnically diverse event in the world, and they only occur once every four years — which amounts to perhaps just one or two opportunities for each generation to compete. Being an Olympic Champion is rare; being an Olympian is rare; the Games themselves are rare. Is there any wonder why anyone might dedicate their entire lives to the dream?

    I have. I am doing it now. I have moved away from home, away from a great relationship, put off higher education, distanced myself from a successful career in Engineering, and asked family to fund it all. I’m not the first person to do this — I’m confident that every Olympian has had to make similar, and often more drastic, sacrifices. For me and my fellow dreamers, these sacrifices are easy to make knowing that we will someday have our chance to become Olympians. Carpe diem. If I don’t make it, it won’t be for lack of effort or commitment, but for lack of ability. If that is my Olympic fate, that is something I can live with. I just didn’t have what it takes. The Olympics are for the very best only.

    Now imagine if the Olympics were gone. My daily motivations and sacrifices would all be in vain. All for nothing. I can’t imagine how devastating that would be. Sadly, this is what wrestlers around the world were faced with this morning. Kids that have already begun to devote themselves to their task, being the best wrestler the world has ever seen, are now looking at a future without their dream. Perhaps I am being dramatic, but to me, this news is just devastating.

    I’m not going to get into the merits of wrestling as an Olympic sport, and whether another sport should be on the chopping block instead. For any sport that has been apart of The Games for a number of Olympic quadrennials to be dropped is sad. The Olympics are about tradition, and with the exclusion of wrestling from The Games, part of that tradition is dying.

    But I realize the IOC has reasons to limit the number of events included. With every sport that is added, The Games become more and more diluted. Amazing stories, great performances, and whole sports get lost in the Olympic frenzy. But I can’t complain, my dream wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the IOC’s vision to keep The Games modern and evolving with the rest of the world.

    I guess what I am trying to say here is that The Olympic Games are special and shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am thankful that I still have a chance to pursue my Olympic dream, and today was a great reminder of just how precious that is. You often hear people talk about the journey being just as rewarding as the end result. Well here’s to taking a moment to realize I am on that journey, now, and how fortunate I am to still be on a path that leads to The Olympics.

  • Sir Steven Redgrave: Playing on the river

    Posted on August 6th, 2012

    In the plethora of NBC Olympic coverage we have recorded on the DVR, I came across this gem. It is an interview with Mary Carillo and Sir Steven Redgrave. Redgrave is considered to be one of the greatest British athletes of all time, and should be included in conversations of greatest Olympians of all time, with five gold medals in five consecutive Olympics (1984-2000). He is not a swimmer, cyclist, nor runner, but a rower. Still, Olympic Champions across all sports have a lot in common, and his words really resonate with me as I look ahead to “the next challenge.”

    Every now and again you sort of look back and think, “God, how did I achieve what I achieved of winning the Olympics five times over without missing one?” But at the time it was all about the next challenge. “Are you going to give up or carry on? Do I go and get a real job or do you still want to play on the river?”

    When we see someone like Michael Phelps, who’s done so much for so long, much like yourself, what is the nature of that sacrifice? How do you do something like that?

    I think if you treat it as a sacrifice you could only do it for a short period of time; so it has to become a love, it has to become a passion. When people talk to me about my Olympic gold medals they want to talk about that moment; that moment of crossing the line; that moment of standing on the podium; that moment of your achievement. But actually what I look back on is the Olympiad — the four years of time between each games; is the preparation; is the hardships. That’s a hell of a lot of commitment to put in to say, “Yeah, it’s just that moment that you have that medal put around your neck,” or, “That moment as your bows go through the finishing line.”

    I have found my passion, all I have to do is to get out and play on the river every day.