The Olympics ended today and for a few weeks we all got a chance to enjoy the friendship and the true spirit of sportsmanship between nations. The distractions were still there of course. The never ending bad news of the economy, bickering politicians and Russia’s invasion of Georgia still dominated the news but it was great to see some of the 24/7 cable news cycles devoted to the “goodness” of the Olympics in Beijing.
As I watched the closing ceremonies, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride to be an American. I didn’t feel this way because we won the most medals but because of the many shining examples of what it means to be an American that came to light during the Olympics. In this post, I salute the athletes, the coaches and especially the parents for reminding all of us how great this country is and of the reasons why so many hope to one day realize the American Dream.
( This is who we are. )
- A boy fleeing the violence of his war-torn country comes to America and becomes a track star. He is chosen by his fellow American athletes to carry the flag on behalf of the United States in the March of Nations.
- A proud mom nurtures an Olympic dream. Thousands of carpools and practices later, with no government subsides, Debbie Phelps watches her little boy become the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.
- A Chinese-American immigrant opens a little gymnastics gym only to have Shawn Johnson walk in one day. He coaches her to a gold medal in his birth-city of Beijing.
- A daughter of a former Soviet gymnast wins the all-around women’s gymnastics gold medal for the United States.
- The men’s volleyball coach and his family suffer an unspeakable tragedy at the beginning of the Olympics. He returns to his team a week later and coaches the team to Olympic Gold—first in 20 years for men’s volleyball.
As we put our heads down and charge through the current economic recession, we must never forget the pride, the spirit and the ingenuity of the American people. We have overcome before and we shall overcome again.
Only in this country…can a 10 year old immigrant child grow up to write such a blog post.