Olympics heightens pride, builds ambition

When the Olympics come around, a majority of viewers only watch the events they care about and enjoy watching. For some, they watch a sport that they used to play or an intense game that gets their adrenaline pumping just by watching it. For others, they watch to feel in the loop while around the water cooler or at the lunch table. No matter what our reasons are for watching the Olympics, the Games always seem to bring about a heightened sense of nationalism, an interest in new sports, and a newly acquired passion for athletics.

In the 2014 Winter Olympics, the U.S. won a total of 28 medals, placing them second in the overall medal count. Although we did not win the most medals, or even the most gold medals, our country still continues to take pride in our athletes and prop them up to be saviors of the American name – and for good reason. Training virtually year round, a typical regimen for Olympic athletes, takes lots of dedication and is deserving of the large amount of recognition which it receives. Also, through hard work exemplified by the Games, they show the world that not all Americans are lazy like so many believe we are.

While watching the Olympics this year, I noticed that there was much more to the Winter Olympics than just figure skating, snowboarding, and skiing competitions. This year alone, 12 new events debuted, including women’s ski jumping and ski halfpipe. Because of the addition of these new events, many people tuned in to watch to see if the events would be successful and who would be the first victor in each of them. One event that caught my eye, although it wasn’t new, was team ice dancing. Meryl Davis and Charlie White from the U.S., who took home the gold for ice dancing, have a story that caught my attention before the Games began. Davis and White have been ice dancing partners since 1997 and have competed in multiple international competitions. Through all their hard work and dedication, their mothers have been right by their side and have hardly missed any events. Watching them dance in Sochi and seeing how far they’ve come as a duo was inspiring because it shows how something you do for a hobby can turn into the basis for your life and, through determination and perseverance, you can always have a shot at success.

Every time that the Olympics are going on, it seems that every teenager tweets “OMG I wish my parents kept me in sports #Olympics2014.” While tweets like this could be seen as a lazy kid just looking for an outlet to complain, if these thoughts and energy were harvested into doing something great, it could work out to their benefit. For a child who is watching the Games, awestruck by elite Olympic athletes, the observance of the Games could spark a fire to become one of them someday. Watching the Olympics could inspire someone to pick up an old sport that they used to love. The Games have the power to change someone’s life, simply because watching the Olympics causes people to see the potential they have to do great things. Yes, sometimes teenagers are just trying to find an outlet to complain or to get endless retweets or favorites on Twitter, but other times the Games have the potential to inspire and to change lives.

Like all good things, the 2014 Winter Olympics had to come to an end. The events in Sochi created a sense of community within our lives and created inspiration for some. After being exposed to Russian culture for about a month, the Games also brought insight to areas of the world other than our own. This year’s Games were a great example of how hard work and dedication will pay off, and I’m excited to watch the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.