The Olympics are an opportunity for the World to come together, in one place at one moment in time, and join hands in unity. The Games are extremely unique in the sense that EVERYONE is invited. You don't have to have a high GDP, a certain political stance, or even the best athletes in the World. There was an athlete in Pyeongchang from Tonga. I mean, they have never even seen snow in Tonga. Yet, they still sent an athlete to represent their country....no, he did not win a medal. But his courage to compete with the best (and go nearly naked to Opening and Closing Ceremonies) was acknowledged and respected. There were so many unique athletes with incredible stories. Pride and openness abounded. We all put our differences aside to come together and compete on the biggest stage.
The Olympics really are like a very important meeting of sorts. Except each country does not send politicians and businessmen -- they send their best athletes. It is kind of crazy, if you think about it: some of these athletes are very worldly, well-known and well-spoken, while other have never left their home country or been on T.V. And we all convene as equals, for a short period of time. We trade pins and jackets and hats and flags, we get to know one another and journey through some of the most stressful days of our lives together. That, in itself, is something truly special: suffering together. Your differences become irrelevant and similarities are exaggerated.
We are all good people. For some it is more outwardly apparent than for others...but, somewhere, deep-down, we all want the best for our selves, our brothers, our families and therefor humanity. We are all connected as a species. This is probably the most fundamental tie we have to one another, and a hugely important one at that.
The competitions/race/games at the Olympics are an important opportunity for us all. The winners and medalists receive a lot of praise and attention, but every athlete is given the opportunity to be seen, heard, and to represent our countries. Some people want the best athlete to win but I, personally, want the best person to win. I hope for the most humble player, the one with the biggest heart, the one who wants to do good in this world, to win.
In order to make positive change, we must be heard. The stage at the Olympics gives us a fantastic opportunity to do just that: be seen, be heard, be respected and listened to. It opens doors for athletes to stand up for what they believe in. It allows us to represent the parts of our countries that we are proud of: for me, freedom, equality, hope, diversity, and kindness. These values differ greatly between athletes, but regardless of your personal ideals the Olympic Games are an opportunity to express yourself to the World. And that's pretty freaking neat.
While I'm walking away without a medal, I am not empty-handed. I am proud of what I have accomplished. I gave everything I had to these Games and did my best. That is all I could do, and all I can hope now is that my journey, my story, will inspire others to dream big, work hard, and become better people.
These Olympic Games have taught me so much and snowed me the potential of all that is possible to achieve through sport. This possibility is something I was unaware of before but am now humbled and inspired by. Now I am motivated to get back to the grind and become not only a better skier, but a better person. A better representative of my country, or...the country I dream it to be, and a better representative of the human race. I hope I can return in 4 years and join hands with the rest of the World again. I hope I can show what I have learned -- both on and off the hill -- and make an impact to create positive change and inspire others to do the same.
adventures to and from, here and there, home and away, around the world--through my eyes, lens, and mind