It is fascinating and often inspiring to watch the reactions of Olympic champions once they win the gold medal. Some burst into tears. Some yell with ferocity. Many leap for joy, hugging those around them as they wear the biggest smiles their faces can muster. A few have less than admirable responses.
I was impressed with the reaction of many athletes during these 2012 games. Gabby Douglas was, for example, a model of grace and kindness when interviewed after winning her gold medal for best women’s all around gymnastics. She remembered others who helped her get to where she is (including God, much to the dismay of those who frown on athletes thanking God in success). Her response made me smile and appreciate her even more.
At the other end of the spectrum was the arrogant Usain Bolt. While the television announcers repeatedly referred to him as having charisma, I was underwhelmed with his attitude. He may be the fastest man alive and the fastest sprinter in Olympic history, but his arrogance is off the charts as well. No one of any character or humility refers to himself as a legend.
If I had the chance to meet Gabby or Usain some day, I would travel a good distance to meet Gabby. I wouldn’t walk across the street to meet Usain.
Attitudes are important, both when it comes to winning and losing in sports or other aspects of life. How you conduct yourself in both situations says a lot about your character.
Leap year lesson #223 is Be gracious in winning or losing.