How Two Women by Living the Olympic Creed Showed the World How We Can Be Together by SCN Blog Contributor Brian Kelly
“We are more alike, my friends, than unalike.” – Maya Angelou
The Olympics are a magnificent, global celebration of the human spirit. The athletes’ stories of struggle and triumph to make it to the games are what makes the Olympic Games so special. This is eloquently captured in the Olympic Creed:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
As I reflect on this and my time at the recent Ascend National Convention, where the theme for this gathering of the largest Pan-Asian business event of the year was: “Dare to Dream. Be Extraordinary. Ascend.”, I see synergies between the Olympic Creed and this aspirational message. There was sub-theme of storytelling throughout the Ascend Convention. Storytelling is how we as human-beings connect with one another. We all have our stories, our struggles, and our triumphs. We are all uniquely brilliant while at the same time, as Maya Angelou so eloquently conveys in her poem, Human Family, “we are more alike, my friends, than unalike”.
The Olympic spirit is about dreaming big, commitment to excellence, embracing your unique struggle, and bringing your best every day. The athletes are competitors, playing to win, though the real competition is within. It is the struggle to persevere when things are difficult. It is the sacrifice, the dedication, and the extraordinary preparation that goes into being your best on the grandest stage. It is in daring to dream about achieving Olympic gold, and realizing that success need not be so narrowly defined in the Olympic Games or life.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, success took on a whole new meaning for me. When two women who had never met, who live across the world from each other, created one of those unforgettable moments that reveals true character, reminds us of our common humanity, and redefines success.
Abbey D’Agostina from the United States and Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand created such a story. As the headline of Helene Elliott’s LA Times article reads: Runners Abbey D’Agostina and Nikki Hamblin are the real winners in Rio. Indeed, they are.
The two women competed in the 5,000-meter event. In the middle of their qualifying heat for the event finals, Abbey and Nikki collided injuring both athletes. What happened next was special. Abbey saw Nikki was in distress, so she chose to stop, went over to Nikki, put her hand on her shoulder, and said, “Get up! Get up! We have to finish this!” Later in the race, D’Agostina’s knee, injured in the collision, gave out on her. Hamblin returned the favor. The two champions, true to the Olympic spirit, took part, overcame their struggle, and in doing so, together, created an inspiring, human moment that will live in our minds forever.
This extraordinary story and the Olympic Games serve as a reminder to me that what we need as individuals, families, communities, organizations, and nations is to connect to our humanity. We are one global, human community, more alike than unalike, and better for both for our common humanity and our uniqueness. Let’s ascend!
“In minor ways we differ. In major, we are the same.” – Maya Angelou
When life is about a larger purpose, treating each other as human-beings, more alike than unalike, and being your best in service to elevating others, we make choices reflecting those values. When we do so, we move one step closer to living our purpose, and to being one global, human, connected, thriving community.
Get up! Get up! We have to finish this!