Striving for a Personal Best – The Olympics!

love the Olympics.  Not for the thirty minutes of human interest packages you get for every ninety seconds of actual sports.  Not for the national pride of chanting “U-S-A” or hearing the national anthem or counting how many medals we have versus other countries.  None of that stuff has ever mattered to me – which just goes to show I am not the target demographic for most Olympic programming – but still I love the Olympics. Because of the heart of the athletes.  Because of the dreams.

Every four years, athletes come together for the culmination of their dreams.  Most of the athletes there won’t win gold, or even make the podium, but they have all worked incredibly hard and being at the Olympics, performing at the Olympics, striving for their personal best, is the payoff for years of hard work.

It’s expensive to go to the Olympics.  They don’t always talk about that, but in addition to the years of physical effort to hone their skills there are also often years of financial struggle – most sports aren’t cheap to practice and then there’s also the actual cost of getting to the games and the sponsorships needed to get you there.  There is no one at the opening ceremony tonight for whom it would not have been easier at some point to just say, “You know, the dream just isn’t worth it.”  But they wanted it too badly to give up, motivated by chasing the dream that today, in Korea, they achieve by walking into that Olympic village.

So I tune in for the perseverance.  For the determination.  For the honor of taking your shot at gold.  For hoping for the best run of your life and striving for your personal best and the hope that some magic may happen and it may be enough to stand there and hear your national anthem – and the pride of knowing you got there and you gave it your all, win or lose.

We can learn a lot from those competitors.  I may not be the Lindsey Vonn of writing – producing the most words in a sprint or the most books in a year.  I may not be the Nathan Chen of writing – writing books with gasp-inducing feats of plotting that become overnight phenomenons.  But I continue to believe in my dream and strive for my personal best.  I continue to believe that my next book will be better than my last and that what I am doing matters. 

I continue to dream.  And I watch a lot of Olympics.  😉

Do you watch the Olympics?  What is your favorite part?

18 responses to “Striving for a Personal Best – The Olympics!”

  1. (FIST IN AIR) YES! This is the reason. Follow your passion, and live every moment.

    Great post, sister!

  2. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    What an inspiring post, Vivi!
    The Olympics is incredibly awesome. Not only for the dream-chasers, because WOW, but it is so amazing to see the entire world come together in a common theme. It brings hope for so, so many. Hope for peace, hope for achievements, hope for rising above.
    As you said, these people strive for personal bests under great odds. I may not be Shaun White, but I can sure work hard to be the best I can while continuing to grow. (I’d just rather not do it freezing my bum off! lol)

    I do watch the Winter Olympics, mostly the opening ceremonies, figure skating, hockey, and snowboarding.

  3. Becky Holl says:

    What a wonderful post. I love watching the winter Olympics most of all. How these young people have worked so hard for all of their lives. Leave politics out of it. These athletes deserve to shine. Good luck to ALL of the athletes.

  4. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Opening ceremonies, Vivi, the opening ceremonies!

    When I watch them and all the nations parading proudly it always makes me wonder why we can’t truly become united nations…but we all know the things that get in the way of that.

    Enjoyed the post!

  5. I love watching the Olympics and am always humbled by their commitment and perseverance. Can definitely learn a lot from all these competitors. Best of luck to all.

  6. Darynda Jones says:

    What a fantastic post, Vivi!

    Ahhh, the dreamers. I love watching the olympics. The athletes just amaze me. Their commitment. Their ability to persevere against all the odds. And boy are you right about the cost. I never realized how expensive it was to raise a gymnast.

    But in the end, they are left with this thing of beauty that few people on earth are able to achieve. Just magnificent.

    Thanks for this gorgeous spark of inspiration!

  7. Julia Day says:

    I love watching figure skating. I love listening to figure skating commentators.

    Watching Nathan Chen last night, I remembered how young these athletes are. He’s 18. He can’t drink alcohol, but he can vote. Maybe he’s driving a car. He still remembers his 4th grade teacher. They are babies–and they’re out there performing on the world stage. He didn’t have a good time last night–and that’s a reminder of how huge this is, and how this well-trained, gifted, elegant, powerful guy has to have it all come together at this one moment in time. And when he makes a mistake, he has to get back up and keep going. I admire that so much.

    So, yeah, when I stumble as a writer, I need to take that lesson.

    • I was thinking last night how incredibly difficult it must be to come into the Olympics as a favorite. So much pressure. So many people wanting interviews. And if it’s your first time, you may not know how to guard your time and your mental space enough to keep the focus that has given you such success in the past. The weight of all those expectations – and your expectations for yourself – must get quite heavy on those young shoulders. I’ll definitely be cheering for him to bounce back and kill it in his next skate.

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    Vivi, I love this metaphor. The athletes representing their countries at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang have talent, sure – but YES to the perserverance!!

    Exhibit #1: 31-year-old snowboarder/entrepreneur Shaun White. Four months ago, while training to qualify for his fourth Olympic halfpipe team, he suffered a horrific facial injury. (Google it.) 60 stitches later, he qualified for the team with a perfect score of 100. Exhibit #2: Lindsey Vonn. Bumping up on 30, no one would have blamed her if she’d retired after injuring her knee during the run-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Did she? Nope. She’s in PyeongChang today, one of the top-ranked athletes.

    I’ll watch every minute of the Olympics that I can, but I most look forward to men’s singles figure skating. I’ve been #TeamRippon for years, and I think Adam’s long program is one of the most gorgeous pieces I’ve seen in years…such a perfect amalgam of movement, music, and man.

    • I’ll have keep an eye out for Rippon’s program! Those comeback stories for Vonn & White are compelling, but I have to admit I often find the struggle of the hopeful unknowns so much more heart-tugging than the champions looking for a comeback – just my personal bias. 🙂

  9. Addison Fox says:

    What an inspiring post, Vivi. I honestly never thought about the financial angle – and the additional sacrifice that adds to the physical and mental.

    Happy Winter Olympic-ing for the next two weeks!!!


Subscribe to the Blog

The Latest Comments

  • Gwyn: I’ve never seen GoT, but I bought the books for Hubble and read the first three (or four?) before the...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: I have mixed feelings about spoilers. I see that they are generated by excitement and I...
  • Tamara Hogan: –> What collective zeitgeist is tapped into when such large numbers of people are so engaged...
  • Elizabeth Langston: I think my husband would agree that I love to share stories. I recently read a Mafia romance. On...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: –>> “We can see the broader story or know where we ultimately want to...