The Race for a Gold Medal
Athletes prepare for years to compete in their sport at the Olympic games. They spend every moment of every day training, practicing and competing to be good enough to get to the Olympics and even more than that, good enough to win a medal.
I enjoy the Olympics. I love the way the Olympic games bring our world together for the beauty of the sport. As I watch the games I can’t help but think about the dedication, passion and work that each athlete puts in to get this point. To share one of their greatest gifts and perform their passion for basketball, fencing, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, running or swimming before the whole world. All eyes are on them.
Each year stories of the Olympic athletes are told and what we discover about these Olympians is their ordinary and extraordinary journeys that took them to this place at the games. We have met refugees who left their home behind for safety, foster children who bet the odds, first time religious, racial and ethnic minorities excelling in their events to make history. Their stories remind us what the world is supposed to be like, where race, religion, nationality or economic status don’t hold you back from being the person God created you to be.
In the midst of terrorist attacks, hate, violence and division it is really beautiful that we can treat each other with respect, appreciation, and a standing ovation because they could go faster, jump higher, throw further, and work together to achieve a place of honor.
But the story that touched me the most is found on the women’s 5,000-meter race yesterday. The buzzer announces the evenly paced steps of runners as they began to go around the track; that is until New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin and US Abbey D’Agostino tripped over each other and their hopes of winning a medal were gone.
But their story isn’t about their fall, it is about what happened next. Hamblin stood up and turned to D’Agostino and said, “Get up, we have to finish this.” Together they hobbled across finish line in last place. And then the two women embrace before both getting medical attention.
Although most of us don’t find ourselves at the Olympic games racing to be a gold medalist, we all compete in our own type of Olympic games for gold medals in business, education, parenting, medicine, success, and even status. It is hard to fall, sometimes it is even harder to finish after we fall. Hobbling across the finish line after everyone else has long since finished.
Sometimes we don’t make the right business choice, or we take a long range education plan, make mistakes in parenting, are not the best and don’t find ourselves on a podium receiving any accolades for the hard work and time we have put in.
But in God’s eyes, it doesn’t matter if we medal; what matters is how we run the race. God’s race invites us to help each other along the way, encourage our fellow “teammates,” listen, learn and eventually cross the finish line—because in God’s eyes we are all gold medalists.
Blessings on your race today.