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The Olympics & Champions

For the next two weeks or so many minds, TV sets and computers will be tuned into the 2012 Summer Olympic Games taking place this time around in London. We’ll watch highly-trained athletes compete in too many events to keep track of. Some dreams will be realized; many more will not be, at least not fully.

New champions will be crowned, medals will be placed around winners’ necks, national anthems will be played and tears will be shed.

Will you be watching?

I’ll be tuning in now and then, but my interest admittedly, is only mild to moderate at best.

Even though I’ve never been much of an athlete myself, like most people I have great admiration for those who are. I admire athletes of all kinds, not just at the Olympic level, but all athletes, right down to the ones on the local little league team.

With the arrival of the Olympic Games once again, I find myself wondering why we hold athletes in such high regard. Why do we admire them so much?

Is it simply because they can do things physically we know we cannot, or is there more to it than this?

And the fact that countries from all over the world generation after generation put together teams every four years proudly sending them off to gather in one location to compete in highly publicized games, seems to say athleticism is something we all admire.

Why do we place so much value on physical accomplishments anyway? Do we give equal value to accomplishments of the mind?

I’m also wondering just what makes a champion a champion.

Of course we all know it takes lots of hard work, dedication, good genes, having the right opportunities, a decent coach or trainer and also probably a healthy dose of sheer good luck along the way.

Undoubtedly, it’s a combination of all these things and many other factors as well.

Perhaps it’s easier to define what makes an individual a champion.

But what makes a championship team?

Is it working together, carrying the load for others when necessary, never giving up, everyone giving it their all, setting the right goals, again having a great coach, racking up enough wins or mostly, more good luck?

Or does a champion or championship team need something more?

Perhaps all champions tap into something intangible, some secret for success that few of us are able to discover and most never will. Clearly more than just talent is involved. Champions go above and beyond and then some.

Maybe this is why we hold champions in such high regard.

Champions have more than talent.

Champions have heart.

Interestingly, when I looked up the word champion in the dictionary I was surprised. Here are the definitions from my well-worn Second College Edition New World Dictionary:

1.  a valiant fighter  2.  a person who fights for another or for a cause  3.  a winner of first place or first prize in a competition

The competitive event-type champion definition came in third. For some reason this pleasantly surprised me.

Words evolve depending on how we use them I guess.

I would wager that for most people the word champion conjures up images of the fine-tuned athlete; the type the whole world will be watching for the next couple of weeks.

However, perhaps we don’t need to look that far off or that hard to find champions.

I propose that as you watch this year’s Olympics with whatever time and interest level you decide to give it, you also think about those other two definitions.

Think about valor.

Think about causes.

Then look around you.

There might be a champion living on your street, attending your church or school, or sitting beside you at work. There might be a champion helping you bag your groceries, volunteering to listen to a child read, serving in the military, bringing an elderly person a hot meal, rescuing an animal or yes, dealing with or caring for someone with cancer.

Heck, there might even be a champion living under your very own roof!

Perhaps champions are all around us if only we pause to notice them.

Will you be watching the Olympic Games and if so, what events do you plan to watch most?

Are you, or have you ever been an athlete? (Go ahead and brag a little!)

What do you think makes a champion a champion?





Jan Baird Hasak

Sunday 5th of August 2012

Great post, Nancy! I have been watching the Olympics at friends' houses, since I don't have TV at my apartment. I focus most on those who swim and handle gymnastics.

I absolutely agree with your definition of champion. They are absolutely all around us, if we would just take the time to observe. They don't always get lauded; in fact, many are quiet and prefer the behind-the-scenes approach. Those humble champions are my favorites.

You champion many causes that are near and dear to my heart. I thank you for all you do to bring out awareness of cancer-related issues many don't think about.



Monday 6th of August 2012

Jan, I like the quieter, more humble "champions" best too, Jan. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words.


Friday 3rd of August 2012

I like CANCER CHAMPION as an alternative to "cancer survivor." Fits in well with your first two definitions, don't you think?


Sunday 5th of August 2012

TC, You might be on to something there with cancer champion. Thank you!

AnneMarie @chemobrainfog

Thursday 2nd of August 2012

This is beautiful! I am quite satisfied that the more common use of the word is the 3rd meaning in the dictionary, too.

Your words always inspire me. ALWAYS!



Sunday 5th of August 2012

Ann Marie, You're so sweet. Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment.

Jody Schoger

Tuesday 31st of July 2012

As someone who lives with an athlete and fitness minded myself one thing that strikes me about champions? They never, never, ever give up. They will go toward their goal past fatigue, past tears, past bleeding feet and fingers and get up the next morning and do the same thing again. They are totally based in physical reality.

When I am discouraged, or blue about cancer, I try to remember that and tell myself, "this too will pass," and get up and go after our shared goal of ending this disease all over again.

Thanks for this, Nancy, Jody.


Wednesday 1st of August 2012

Jody, The way I see things, Jody, you are a champion diligently working on behalf of all those affected by cancer. Thank you for that.


Tuesday 31st of July 2012

Love this post on champions, and how they are truly scattered all around us. The quiet battles, giving their time to help others, daring to live out their dreams, supporting loved one through the hard times (I’ve seen it before on our forum, and it never fails to amaze me how much these people keep pushing for the ones they love) . . . all these things happen every day, and it’s so easy to pass that by unnoticed. Thank you for this reminder. You’ve made me appreciate the word, and the idea behind it, far more than before.


Wednesday 1st of August 2012

Catherine, You're so right. Quieter champions are scattered all around us, and in reality might be more important than the ones we openly tend to idolize so much. Thanks for the comments.

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