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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: August 08, 2012

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been keeping an eye on some of the events from the 2012 Olympic Games going on in London right now. I have to say, the athletes are both amazing and inspiring, even in the sports I didn’t know anything about.

Take table tennis, for example. Sure, I played a game or two as a child, and we’ve all watched “Forrest Gump” in the movie. But these guys and gals are fast! How can they react so quickly to such a little ball on such a little table?

It’s the same thing with beach volleyball, and even regular team volleyball for that matter. You just know there is no way they’ll ever get to the ball, and then somehow they dig it out and put it back in play.

I watched the USA women’s soccer team win a nail-biter the other day—after over two hours! That was two 45 minute halves, two 15 minute overtime periods, plus 3 extra minutes for some reason that I never quite understood. They got the head bounce to win 4-3 with just seconds left on the clock. I’m not sure what was more impressive—the endurance it would take to run full speed up and down the field for over two hours, or the sheer determination it took to keep trying to win.

It’s amazing to see the kind of control the gymnasts have over their bodies. They’re the best in the world, and their ability to keep focused under such pressure, at such an important moment in their lives, is as huge as the crazy things they can do—and most of them are still kids!

2012 was the swan song for Olympic champion Michael Phelps. While he seemed to struggle a little early on, he refocused and put together some wins with the team and in two individual events. This brought his total count up to 22 medals, making him the most decorated athlete of all time. He said he’d be leaving the sport having done everything he set out to do. How many of us can say that, whatever our endeavor?

If I have a beef with one sport, it’s got to be the speed walking event. At some point, why not run already! It’s a herky-jerky looking sport that I’ve heard is pretty tough on the body, especially the hip joints. Of course, the winner is able to power walk faster than I can run, so I probably should just keep my mouth shut.

In all the events, the stories behind the athletes are just as inspiring as their winning performances. It’s impossible for most of us to ever understand what it would be like to perform at such an elite level, where the difference between the best in the world can be less than 1/100th of a second. We’ll probably never know what it took either to get there.

What we can learn though, is that effort matters, sacrifice counts for something, and a commitment to excellence brings great rewards. We might not have the genetics to be Olympic athletes, but we all can work to improve ourselves. What do you want to accomplish today?

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