The Summer Olympic Games are upon us. For the next two weeks, we will watch as the best athletes from around the world compete in their respective sports.
You’ll see some amazing races and feats of athletic prowess, some impossible victories and surprising defeats. You’ll see records broken and history made. You’ll see games come down to their final seconds and competitors battle each other for the gold. You’ll see teams come together to overcome their rivals, and you’ll see others fall despite valiant efforts. You’ll see people cry, both because they won and because they lost. You’ll see Olympians beam with pride as their flags are raised above the podium.
But here are a few things you won’t see at the 2016 Olympic Games:
- The hard work it took to get there. This is their final performance after months and years of training. You don’t see the massive amounts of time they’ve dedicated to their sport. You won’t see all of their practices and sets and weight training and time talking with coaches. At these Games, you’ll see success and think that it’s easy, but you won’t see of all the years that these athletes have dedicated to become the best in the world.
- Their sacrifices. There’s a lot that these athletes have had to give up to get to where they are now. I remember in college not being able to go out on Friday nights because of meets on Saturday. Imagine that times a hundred and you’ll understand a little bit about what these people have to give up to keep their dreams of a gold medal alive. They have dedicated themselves to their sport, to their teams. They give up what they want in the moment for the greater want of Olympic success.
- Their failures. All of these athletes have failed at something in their journey to get to the Olympics. For some, they failed to qualify four years ago. For others, they failed at doing something in practice just last week: a turn, a particular dryland exercise, an underwater set. They failed and failed and failed, and yet they got up and tried again.
- The good habits. No one gets to the Olympics without good habits. These athletes discipline themselves into making the right choices, day in and day out. They are talented, yes, but what separates these athletes from the ones sitting at home on the couch are their habits.
- Their support systems. Debbie Phelps is one of the most notable Olympic Moms. All these athletes, though, have their own Debbie: the person or persons who have stood with them, have sacrificed with them, have picked them up after failing. Whether it is their mom or dad or brother or coach, most of their support system will remain in the background, in the shadow of the athlete’s spotlight despite the fact that the gold medal is as much theirs as it is the athlete’s.
I can’t wait to see what stories will unfold at the Olympics this year. There’s always some drama that unfolds; it’s so much better than any episode of The Bachelor because this is real reality TV. And, of course, this is swimming’s most dazzling time. It’s going to be a thrilling ride. Enjoy!
This swimming article is written by and courtesy of Amy Finn.