Life Health

Olympic motivation

By Donna Cotnam, Daily Observer

It takes place every four years and the winter Olympics are here again.

From Feb. 9 to 25, thousands of young athletes will gather to compete for the title of the best athlete in the world, in their sport. Arguably these are the world’s best “amateur’ athletes. Yes there is always controversy when it comes to the Olympic games –performance enhancement substances; amateur verses professional; rigged scoring; and of course the politics involved just gets my blood boiling? These debates have and will go on forever, so let’s not allow all that talk to overshadow the games.

Canada is sending 225 athletes competing in 14 different sports against athletes from all over the world. For some it will be their very first time while others have a few Olympic experiences under their belt. No matter what, each and every one of them have worked hard and made sacrifices to get to this point. They work tirelessly to hone their skills, to fine tune their performance, keeping their eyes on the prize – the top of the podium.

If you have ever exercised or played a sport you can appreciate how hard it is to stick with it. We are only little over a month into the new year….how many new year’s resolutions of starting to exercise regularly have already been broken? It’s hard to commit. So now magnify that by, oh let’s say a million – that’s what makes you an Olympic athlete. Look deeper, understand how these athletes got to where they are. The drive to never give up – the push to train harder, stay disciplined doesn’t just happen.

No matter what level you exercise at, you have most likely never pushed yourself the way these athletes have. They train at all hours of the day and night. They give up their favourite foods and going to social events with friends and families. In most cases they move away from family and friends in order to get the best training they can get. They often work around schooling or jobs and all of this with no guarantees that they will see their dream of competing on the world stage come true.

I challenge you to take the time to watch these games. Watch closely as they complete – see their muscles, watch how their body moves, look at their faces, feel the intensity of wanting to do their very best. See and feel the amount of work that goes into being an Olympic athlete. Listen to their stories – how did they get there? Who helped them, who made a difference in their lives? The expression ‘it takes a village’ so totally applies to Olympic athletes. It isn’t just their parents or coaches or the medical team that works with athletes. It's friends and strangers who encourage them, who say ‘hey good luck, we’ll be watching for you’. They are competing for Canada as well as themselves, we need to have their back! Let the games begin!

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