The 2012 Summer Olympics have come to a close, all of the medals have been awarded and the athletes have all traveled back to their homelands.
Every two years, (remember the Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia in 2014) the planet unites to watch the best athletes in the world compete for those coveted medals.
But more happens than just sheer competition – countries unite to cheer for their own as fellow Olympians pat each other on the back, even after they may have lost to the other.
True sportsmanship could be found in each and every Olympic sport in London this year.
My favorite memory was watching South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, the 25-year-old double leg amputee, not only achieve his dreams of running in the Olympics and making it to the 400-meter semi-finals but to also be asked to trade racing bibs with Kirani James, the runner from Grenada who took first in that heat.
James gave Pistorius a big hug and asked him to trade bibs with him. It was a tearjerker moment, to say the least.
I also love the snippets of video where the announcers cut to film from the lives of the athletes. Men’s gymnast John Orozco who grew up in the Bronx working at the gym he trained in to help make the family’s mortgage is truly an inspiration to all aspiring athletes, no matter what sport they participate in.
Yes, the Olympics brings out pride of country to all those who watch it and it also fills the needs of sports enthusiasts of every kind, (except Lacrosse, which my son is not happy about) but it also is a glaring reminder that the world can come together in fairness and integrity.
In each sport there are rules to follow and each person in that sport is judged the same as any other. Rules, fairness and hard work prevail at Olympic games.
These games are a reminder that countries can get along, play by the same rules and still be friends.
My hope is that those countries who didn’t get the opportunity to participate will someday get the chance to be part of something so huge that it teaches the world a lesson in kindness and collaboration.