THE MONTHLY ADVANCE
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promoting the Special Olympics. He was the first African-American to win the James E. Sullivan award as the nation’s top amateur athlete. Not all of us can be a world-class athlete like Rafer Johnson, but we can all learn a lesson from the effort of Olympic athletes. The values of dedication, preparation, training, and working toward a goal resonate far outside the world of sports. Imagine the work a figure skater has to put in every day in order to shine for just a few moments once every four years. It’s the little things they do every day, the stuff that nobody sees, that makes them champions. We all have things we are working towards. As we get caught up in the grind of everyday life, we sometimes forget that progress doesn’t happen overnight. I’m sure there were times when Rafer Johnson or Kristi Yamaguchi thought of giving up on their dreams. But they persisted, and they made it to the podium. I hope I can approach the challenges in my life with the same enthusiasm. Just don’t ask me to do a triple axel. To me, the Olympic flame symbolizes the burning passion with which the athletes at the games have chased their dreams. As you watch the Olympics this year, I hope you can find that flame within yourself. The Winter Olympics may only arrive once every four years, but the lessons you can take from it can last a lifetime. Olympics are a tribute to exceptionalism if there ever was one.” “I may not know the intricacies of curling, but I know human excellence when I see it. And the
AN EVER- BURNING FLAME WHY I LOVE THE OLYMPICS
getting excited. I may not know the intricacies of curling, but I know human excellence when I see it. And the Olympics are a tribute to exceptionalism if there ever was one. When I was growing up, my favorite Olympic athlete was Rafer Johnson. That name may not ring a bell for everyone, but he was a hero to me. Johnson was a decathlete that participated in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics. After winning silver in Melbourne, he returned to the games to take gold in Rome. I couldn’t believe the things I saw when I watched him compete. He was versatile, dedicated, and demonstrated incredible sportsmanship. If that wasn’t enough, he also played college basketball for UCLA.
“The way you become an Olympic champion is to start working now. It’s always worth it to put the time and effort into something you want to be good at.” –Rafer Johnson I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we live in a sports-crazed society. You can watch sports, or people talking about sports, 24 hours a day. As a lifelong fan, I’m not complaining. However, in the midst of all the overload, I do think that we tend to forget what makes sports magical in the first place. Even college sports have become commodified. A lot of times, watching a game feels like a three-hour commercial. The one event that seems to be immune from a lot of the toxic elements plaguing athletic culture is the Olympics. Whenever the games roll around, I start
Al Jones , PT, OCS, Cert. MDT
Outside of athletics, Johnson was equally impressive. He joined the Peace Corps and was involved in
Advance: To move forward; to make progress; to move ahead.
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