I love the Olympics. You can always find a great inspirational story. Kirani James of Grenada, a country of only 109,000 people, won the men’s 400 meters for that country’s first  medal, let alone a gold. Pavlos Kontides won the first ever medal for Cyprus. What a great source of pride for these small countries. Then there are the individual stories. Missy Franklin winning five medals, including four gold, in swimming just days after her hometown of Aurora, Colorado was stunned by the tragic shooting at a movie theater.

An athlete who didn’t win a medal, or even make a final, but is still an inspiration to all, is Oscar Pistorius from South Africa. Born with missing fibulas, his legs were amputated below the knees as a baby. Using prosthetic limbs, and mounting a successful legal challenge, he competed in the 400 meters, where he made it to the semi-finals.

Probably the most inspirational for me was Kayla Harrison of the United States. Kayla won the first-ever gold for the U.S. in judo. But it came after she was sexual abused by her former coach over a period of years and in several different countries. She was ready to give up the sport, but six years ago joined with her current coach because she didn’t want to give up her dream.

To be a world class athlete takes so much time, dedication, hard work, and determination. To be a champion takes class. All of these athletes are champions.

 

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