Admittedly, I didn’t watch much of the Olympics. I’d have the TV on in the morning while getting ready for my day, or maybe for a few minutes in the evening. Overall, I’m really not a TV person. I’d rather read a book or surf the internet, so I just don’t think to watch.
But I saw a little.
I saw Gabby Jones do her thing and, indeed, the girl does fly. Sixteen years old, eh? “Those darn kids today.”
I saw Michael Phelps win once or twice but, since that happened every hour or so, I think everybody saw that.
But one moment really stuck with me.
In the 110 meter hurdle event, gold medal contender Liu Xiang hit the first hurdle and fell. He eventually got up and hopped to the finish, coming in dead last and not clearing a single hurdle.
I’m sure that was heart-breaking for him and for his fans. I can’t even begin to fathom the amount of preparation that goes along with Olympic level athletics. But to have it end, like that, before it even started… I’d be in bed with a carton of ice cream for the next 6 months. I suppose that’s one of many reasons why I am not an Olympic athlete.
But I digress….
So Xiang fell. Then he got up and made his way to the finish line. And THAT”S where my favorite moment happened.
Balazs Baji, the Hungarian runner, met him there, and helped him across the line at which point the winner of the heat, Great-Britian’s Andy Turner, and Jamaica’s Alex Quinonez each took an arm and helped him off the track while Baji roused the crowd to a roar in honor of Xiang.
Not many of us have the physical capacity to be Olympians. It’s like most anything… we can all learn to do it, but there are those who are born to excel far beyond the average.
But we all have the capacity to show world-class compassion.
The runners in that race all knew what it was to dedicate your life to a single moment. They all knew how badly it hurt to fall, and worse, to lose.
Each of those men knew that, but by the Grace of God, it could have been them, lying injured on the track.
And their hearts immediately went out to Xiang.
They were just men, joined by a common bond, blind to race and international politics.
They were humans. Wonderful humans!
But there’s more…
The crowd watching – thousands of men, women and children from every part of the planet saw what was happening and they absolutely went wild… in a good way.
There was no other time I saw an Olympic crowd cheer like that.
They weren’t cheering because one man fell or because another won. They were cheering the human spirit. They were cheering good sportsmanship. They were cheering love.
I have frequently referred to the fact that God must watch us and do the face-palm (assuming God has a face and palms).
I think that day God smiled.
Those men did a great job that day, not only representing their nations, but representing all that is good in mankind.
You gotta love the Olympics!