If we were waiting for something to take our minds off the spectacle of the presidential election and ongoing spree of terrorist attacks and shootings that have plagued the nation and world, the Olympics has come through just in the nick of time.
Team USA has done brilliantly so far, and with a few more days to claim medals, these outstanding Olympians have given us a welcome diversion from the world’s ugly realities. Depressing profiles of gunmen and suicide bombers have been replaced by inspiring stories of athletes who have overcome obstacles, tragedies and criticism to stun audiences with their physical prowess. Headlines of yelling politicians and scandals are secondary to news of which athletes broke records or took home gold.
Not only is it moving watching these athletes filled with emotion as they achieve their life’s goal, but it’s inspiring to watch their families in the crowd as well. These are the people who woke up before the sun rose to drive their young athlete to practice, who wiped away tears when disappointments came, who offered words of encouragement when failure seemed closer than success. They have shared in every victory, defeat and struggle along the way, and now they too get to see the fruits of their child’s labor.
And this month, the fan club gets a whole lot bigger. Millions of Americans have tuned in to share the journey of the 554 competitors who make up Team USA. There’s a renewed sense of national pride as we cheer for our homegrown athletes who demonstrate perseverance, leadership, ambition and commitment.
When the Olympics end on Aug. 21, the news will once again fill its place with stories of tragedy and loss. But, for the last couple of weeks, it’s been nice focusing on the encouraging stories coming out of Rio, and sharing in the victories of these inspiring contenders.