As we head into the second week of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, I thought I’d take a moment to share my thoughts.
We have been enjoying the competitions with our sons all week: hockey, speed skating, snowboarding, skiing, and as we casually take in the extraordinary efforts of the players, I wonder if they truly grasp what we are watching.
As spectators at home, do we appreciate the unparalleled effort, the pure determination of these athletes? Their unbridled devotion to their sport drove them to train for hours and hours, every day for years, to compete on behalf of their country. A lifetime of work and dreams culminates in one race, or one song, or one run, often on foreign soil.
U.S. athletes stand beside those from around the world. They wear our colors – say proudly, I am an American. For many, the privilege of being on the U.S. team and participating in the Olympics will have to be enough – and it should be. The elite will earn a medal, stand on the podium while our anthem plays (bringing tears to my eyes), and thank their moms, dads and siblings for their support.
At home, from our couch, I realize just how little we grasp of all that goes into this momentous world event. We watch their performances, performances that took years to perfect, and of course, we root for our own. We do this because we are Americans and we love our colors, love to see our stars and stripes rise above all others. But we’ll never quite know what these athletes sacrificed to be there, across the world, doing what they do best.
Which is to make us proud.