It is hard not to watch the Olympics without being impressed by the sheer passion and athleticism that each athlete brings to their respective sports. The ability to excel in a specialized event on a global stage while representing your country must truly be a special, indescribable feeling. Giving your all in precious few moments after countless hours of grueling workouts, super-strict diets over years and years of preparation must be insane and that doesn’t even take into account the dealing with real life and the weight of expectations–UNBELIEVABLE! How can we, the ever-attentive audience, not be impressed?
‘We’ get to reap the rewards of the pain and sacrifice of each Olympian from the comfort of our living rooms while putting nothing on the line. From our couches do we watch as dreams are both achieved, and brutally crushed, while we eat our popcorn and flippantly change channels as we tire of one event and switch to the other. We get to be happy and lazy while our countrymen, if you should choose to support them, grit their way through heat after heat, game after game until they win or are eliminated. The Olympians are our gladiators we want blood and sport!
BUT, we also want to be inspired. I’m not talking about the annoying NBC athlete profiles that preceded EVERY event during prime time that were intended to manufacture support, empathy and the like prior to an event we would likely forget at the end. I’m referring to the inspiration of athletic achievement and accomplishment or simply, the inspiration of sport.
Watching other humans at their athletic peaks should inspire us potato-versions to get up and get active. We don’t need to, and quite surely can’t, match what these Olympians can but we can use them as inspiration to do more. We should allow our champions to make us better and help us give a fraction of what they do to improve our own lives. I don’t mean to go eat more Subway but to get inspired to do more. No you won’t have Phelpsian muscles or Eatonesque abs but perhaps taking the stairs here and biking there can make a difference. Plain and simply, make your Olympians proud and get active!