Going for Gold: The Quest for Success

I’ve been watching the Olympics almost non-stop since they started. My family spent all day the first day watching them, and since then, I haven’t been able to stop. It wasn’t until last night, however, that I realized why I love them so much. It has something to do with how much I love to see people succeed. It came to me last night when I was, mindlessly, watching the marathon of America’s Next Top Model on MTV on commercials during the Olympics, and I realized that the two had something in common: it was the quest for achieving a dream.

Although the Olympics are about 75,000 times better than ANTM, I now get why I watch all that crap: I like to see people chase what they believe in, try their hardest, and win it. I think I’ve read before how much reality TV (in some cases) has to do with the playing out of people’s American dreams, and that’s exactly what it feels like for me. As I watched Salescia win over Chantal, the American Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team defeat the French team in the last five meters, as I watched the American Men’s Gymnastics team take Bronze in the team event, as I watched China nail their events in Gymnastics, and take an emotional gold, all of it was incredible to me because it was about peoples’ dreams coming true. And I cried during every one of those things.

Now, I realized I’m comparing the Olympics and America’s Next Top Model, which are actually not even close to the same level, but I’ve realized they actually have a lot in common. It’s about being an expert in what you do. Whether that be modeling, or swimming, or gymnastics, etc., you have to be great. And you have to be confident. There’s something there that I really appreciate.

Anyway, I’ve fallen completely in love with watching people win medals. I don’t care what happened to them before, or after, or what they did in the past to get there, all I want to see is their face when they realize they’re the best in the world at what they do. I want to see their face light up, and their dream come true.

I hope one day to feel the same.


7 thoughts on “Going for Gold: The Quest for Success

  1. My favorite thing in the Olympics is to see people win medals for sports their countries have never done well in before, to see the surprising happen. You know, like yesterday when a guy from Togo won the bronze in kayaking and was so thrilled and amazed that he broke his oar during his victory yell.

    And I love to watch the athletes that don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell at winning still doing their best. There was an Israeli swimmer the other day who had gotten the news shortly before his qualifying heat that his father had died in an accident. He decided his father would have wanted him to continue swimming, so he got in that pool. I think he came in last in his heat. He certainly wasn’t even close to qualifying to move on to the finals. Still, he swam his personal best, which was a new Israeli record. I thought that was fan-freaking-tastic. He’s every inch a winner in my book.

    That said, it’s hard to match the excitement of the last 50m of that men’s 4×100 relay! Talk about a nail-biter!

  2. “all of it was incredible to me because it was about peoples’ dreams coming true.”

    I wish all the Olympians well, but I avoid the Olympics for precisely that reason – because they are seeing their dreams come true, and they can do all these amazing feats. And I can’t. For most of the sports, including those I would love to participate in, I can’t even do that sport on a basic level. So to me, the Olympics suck. It’s bad enough being restricted without having unrelenting coverage of the things you’re restricted from doing. The sooner they are over so their achievements aren’t being rubbed in my face all the time, the better.

    I’m glad you like them; I hope your dreams come true one day too.

  3. The Olympics and xNTM are about failure not success. For every person that ‘wins’ there are far more people that ‘lose’. The Olympics involve a lot of train wrecks.

    On T.V here in Australia we get these short cuts to ‘great Olympic moments’ which invariable involve someone doing some ‘feat of bravery’ which usually involves them failing. I.e. someone with a torn hamstring limping across a finishing line. The xNTM franchise is essentially the same.

    So, if I was doing some psychoanalysis I’d say something like ‘you like to watch people fail so you feel better about yourself’. But psychoanalysis is silly. I know I watch the Olympics because it’s funny to see people devote their lives to winning gold and then slip at the final hurdle as their hopes and dreams turn to dust. I’m glad I was never that seriously into something I was so unlikely to succeed at.

  4. The difference between you and I, Greg, is that, I believe, I am an optimist, and you are a pessimist. So I’m gleeful at people winning, and you’re thinking about all the people who failed for that person to win.

    Even being at the Olympics is an accomplishment, if you ask me, so all those people should be proud of themselves anyway.

  5. Haha, perhaps that’s true 🙂 Two points:

    1) I’d guess that athletes are all dreaming of gold. I know when I play sport I play to win. They might run the ‘making it there is great’ argument before the media… but really.

    2) I wouldn’t call myself a pessimist, rather a realist. Objectively if you just count the people that win and those that don’t you can see there is more winning than losing.

    It’s like looking at a glass with a few drops of water in it and saying ‘it’s almost empty’ or ‘there’s not much in it’. No interpretation involved (or at least very little).

  6. I believe Life is all about taking your innate Gifts (everyone has some) and using them well.

    If they are athletic gifts, wonderful. Artistic gifts, ditto. Interpersonal strengths are still seriously needed and seldom fostered, and that is why true Humanitarians are so highly-regarded.

    There is no winning and losing. The medal is not the Ideal for a serious-player. Neither is the adulation a worthy goal. What I think is important are the Lessons learned on your Journey, and how they change your life, and then, most importantly, how you Change others’ lives.

    All of this can be done in any venue, and the Olympics is a showcase of the agony and triumph in one arena of Life. We can vicariously share their Journey and apply what we learn to our own. That is their great and lasting contribution.

    I hope you will find the following article inspiring, and as diabetics are often overweight, they are fighting the same battles as those here, along with the extra dimension.

    It’s important to keep perspective and not be affected by what ignorance in others can only wreke if you let it.

    Each of us is a winner, as long as we are doing our very best.


    Best to all — Em

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