Feb 182010
 
Authors: Robyn Scherer

As I watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, I couldn’t help but to be amazed. Countries spend millions and millions of dollars to put a show on for the world at the Olympics.

The Olympics give Americans something to rally and root for that is common across all ages, sexes and ethnicities. It brings together community members in a way that no other sporting event seems to and allows people to show their American pride to the world.

So far, this Olympics has had its fair share of happiness, as well as sadness. Before the games even began, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed in a tragic accident on the Whistler track, considered one of the fastest in the world. When this happened, the world mourned.

There have also been great achievements and happiness. On Wednesday, the United States took home three gold medals. Lindsey Vonn worked through the pain of her shin bruise to become the first-ever women’s downhill Olympic champion.

Stories like hers inspire people to reach for more. They show people that even in the face of challenges, with determination and perseverance, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

In today’s world, that inspiration is needed. With a struggling economy and high unemployment, it can be hard to find inspiration to work toward something more. Watching Olympians can help bring that spirit to each of us.

Another amazing story is that of J.R. Celski. Celski was 12 when the Winter Games were held in Salt Lake City, and watching Apolo Anton Ohno is what inspired him to try speed skating. He missed the Olympic trials in 2006 by 17 days, because he was underage at the time.

He made the 2010 team, and his dream of being an Olympian was almost happening, when he faced an almost life threatening injury. During the Olympic trials, “he fell and cut his leg an inch from his femoral artery when his skate lodged in his left thigh,” according to the Asian Journal.

He underwent aggressive therapy in order to make it to the Vancouver games. If that is not inspiring, I am not sure what is. It takes a lot of heart to push yourself that far. At the time, his coaches weren’t sure if he would even be able to walk again. On Saturday, he took his first Olympic medal, a bronze in the 1500 meter.

It doesn’t always take injury or an unusual story for inspiration. On Wednesday, Shaun White, the “Flying Tomato,” took home his second consecutive gold in the men’s half pipe, an event he has dominated the last four years. In case you didn’t know, Shaun White is a badass.

If you happened to watch that event, there would be no doubt in your mind that you would agree with me. Flying 5 feet higher than almost any other competitor, he secured his win before he even took his second run.

On that second run, he showed the world what he does best: amazing everyone there. White is the only rider who does the Double McTwist 1260, an incredibly hard move that few boarders even attempt. He won the competition by 3.4 points, a very large margin.

The popularity of the half pipe and other snowboard events has, no doubt, helped spark interest in the sport of snowboarding all across the world. Since the half-pipe was introduced in 1998, Americans have won 12 of the 21 medals, according to USA Today. That is inspiring to many young boarders.

It does not matter which event you are watching, you can find inspirational stories everywhere you look. That inspiration can be carried into your own life. Don’t settle for what you have because you feel you have to; look for opportunities and capitalize on those and it will be worth it. I promise.

Robyn Scherer is a senior animal science, agricultural business and journalism and technical communication major. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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