I come from a home where playing sports was as important as taking piano lessons or foreign language classes. My dad was a sports journalist who always emphasized how sports helped shaping a person’s character.
One of the things my family enjoyed doing together was watching the Olympic Games. It was a great opportunity to remember some important truths about hard work, motivation, and teamwork. By observing the athletes and circumstances of the games we all can learn some valuable life lessons. Here are a select few:
RELATED POST: 5 Most Popular Sports in Latin America
“Do not give up”
I was ten years old when Kerri Strug performed the vault despite having injured her ankle at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. I was impressed with her strength to push herself and fight till the end. She taught me that sometimes we just need to fight off the pain, take a deep breath and finish the race. Our efforts won’t always give us the “gold medal” but finishing the race would give us peace. (Watch the clip here)
“Do not listen to negativity”
Michael Phelps did not win a medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics. But his defeat motivated him to work harder and excel at the following Olympics. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, a famous swimmer said that it was highly unlikely for him to win eight gold medals. Michael taped his remarks to his locker during the Games and his determination proved all the negative people wrong. Today, he is the most decorated Olympian of all time.
“Learn from your mistakes”
Most of the Olympians devoted their life to make it to the Games but things don’t always go as planned it. It is easy to get discouraged when we have put our hearts into something but we should keep trying. The Olympics teach us that we should learn from our mistakes, ask for feedback and be humble. As Hellen Keller said: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
“Family is everything”
Your loved ones will motivate you, inspire you and help you to keep stress at bay. When Canadian freestyle skier Alex Bilodeau won the gold medal, he celebrated with his brother Frederick who has cerebral palsy. He said that his brother was his great inspiration, he stated, “Whatever I do in life, my brother is my real inspiration. Just like you and I, he has dreams and most of them are not realizable to him. But he never complains that it’s not realistic to him. With his motivation, he would be a four-time Olympic champion. Every step is so hard for him in life and I have an easy path and I need to go after and do the best I can just out of respect to him. He lives his dreams through me…for me, it’s the least I can do. He is my everyday inspiration.”
What other life lesson can you add to this list?
Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together. Today, you can find more about other sports/games from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:
Exploring Indonesian Badminton – Multicultural Kid Blogs
Popular Summer Sports in USSR – Creative World of Varya
Handball, France and the Olympics – Lou Messugo
Capoeira: a martial art with a great beat – Brynn in Brazil
The big 3: soccer, rugby, cricket – Globe Trottin’ Kids
Copa América: We Are the Champions – La clase de Sra. DuFault
Football in the Netherlands: The Men in Orange – Expat Life with a Double Buggy
Summer sports in Latvia – Let the Journey Begin
Valuable Lessons From The Olympic Sports to Kids – Hispanic Mama
Fencing with Ibtihaj Muhammad – Kid World Citizen
Puerto Rican Olympians – Discovering the World Through my Son’s Eyes
Don’t forget that you can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.