Thursday, February 23, 2006

Another View of the Olympics

From "Glimpsing the Divine Through Sports":

"My teammates and I had just finished cranking out a 9,000-yard workout in the pool... when we heard the official news: the United States would boycott the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. We were not going.

I was 19 years old and nearing the top of my swimming career. Though the news of our government's decision wasn't a total surprise--rumors had been rampant for months--the finality hit hard. For eight years, I'd spent four hours daily in the pool, run miles upon miles, lifted hundreds of pounds of weights-and endured tortures that would get a coach fired for cruelty today. Yet my future came down to events out of my control. Remember, in 1980 there was no money to be made in competitive swimming, no X-Games, no endorsements. Going to the Olympic Games was the ultimate goal.

I had to search deeply to make sense of it all. For some swimmers, it was too difficult to comprehend, and they took a hiatus from the sport. For me, the boycott became a catalyst for my spiritual quest. I had to find higher meaning in sport itself-not just in the competition and glory. Prior to this, I never gave it much thought beyond the recognition and fun I had with my friends..."

"In that moment, I realized there is a divine spark that can be harnessed and drawn from. I think this is what most highly accomplished athletes feel--strength through grace, the divine through the physical... "


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