Cue the music.
That’s right. The best athletes (and that includes runners!) in the world have assembled in our neighbor across the pond. As someone who was brought up to watch the games with a healthy dose of respect and excitement, I’ve been humming the Olympic theme all week.
Even though my affliction—ahem, I mean sport—of choice is running , I will admit to a long-time fondness for the artistic gymnastics. I lived in Atlanta in 1996, the year Kerri Strug made an incredible landing to clinch the team gold medal. Besides, I identify with gymnasts. They balance on a beam, and I balance two young children with my work and a passion for running. They earn medals, and I earn, well, a pat on the back for keeping my kids fed and clean (well, mostly clean).
However, because I’ve grown into a running enthusiast in the past ten years, I’ve added two new events to my list of favorite Olympic sports . As you probably know, there is no half marathon distance at the games, but there are athletes whom half-marathoners can look up to. The marathon and triathlon events feature runners who are truly inspirational, and I can’t wait to watch these events (on my DVR, late at night, when my two children have finally given up the good fight and gone to bed).
Maybe you’re like me, and the summer is starting to seem a little long and very hot. Those outdoor runs feel like a trek through the Sahara that’s short on inspiration and big on pain. Whenever I start losing focus, I always look to those who’ve overcome the odds to make it to the top of their game. So if you, like me, are in need of some extra motivation this training season, check out these highlights, courtesy of the athletes who are being watched by the world.
- Olympic Blog by Andy Schmitz: The U.S. Team Leader for the triathlon team blogs about his experience. Get the inside scoop on what it means to work with these elite athletes at the prestigious event.
- U.S. Triathletes at an Olympic Press Conference: U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team members Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.) and Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.) discuss their journey to the Olympics and their hopes in the competition. No whiners here! More about the U.S. triathlete team can be found here.
- Who said short girls can’t run fast: Oh — maybe that was me in a previous blog post! Take a look at Desiree Davila, who has made the Olympic team as a marathoner. She’s 5’2”! See other U.S. track and field profiles here.
- Last but most definitely not least, learn the inspiring stories of the athletes who defied the odds to compete. Several runners are featured in this article, and I’ll tell you, hearing stories about people who had to run for their lives puts things in perspective for me.
Next time I feel like complaining about ANYTHING, all I have to do is think about these incredible stories of survival and perseverance.
So remember, beyond the Olympics’ commercialization, drug scandals, and egotistical superhumans, there are Olympians who are true winners just by competing. Let that thought drive you as you train, because we are so blessed to have the ability to do so freely.
This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.