Beauty in the breaking points
I was always a pretty good athlete as a kid. Good enough to hang with the older kids in my neighborhood. Good enough to make the teams that I wanted to make in high school. Good enough to play at the college level. Good enough. But looking back, I recognize just how much harder it would have been to be truly great at any of it.
These thoughts are top of mind for me every few years when the Olympic Games come back around and I find myself in awe of the world’s most elite athletes. To think of what it takes to be the best in the world at anything is pretty overwhelming. To imagine being able to reach that level within a particular/finite window of time, on the world’s largest stage, with your team and your country watching and counting on you, is almost impossible. And that is what makes it so amazing.
Every two/four years we not only see the world’s greatest athletes compete with one another, we also get to see a reflection of the world around them. And sometimes it isn’t pretty or easy to watch. We have seen athletes use their crowning moments on the podium to call attention to injustice and inequality—and we know that many of them have paid a price both personally and professionally. We have learned of athletes who are under such pressure to win and succeed that they are willing to use performance enhancing drugs to stay on top. We witness horrific injury and heartbreak. And this year, we learned that the pressure of it all can become too much for anyone—even the greatest of all time.
I am not sure that 20 years from now I will remember who won Olympic gold in 2021 in the long jump, or who started on the basketball or soccer teams—but I know I will remember Simone Biles.
So many people around us are carrying more on their shoulders than we will ever realize. The last 18 months have only added to those burdens and made life more complex for all of us.
By stepping away from the sport when she did, and by acknowledging that the pressure being put on our young Olympians in insurmountable moments, Simone Biles has no doubt modeled behavior that will help those who are approaching their own breaking points. And gold medals and floor exercises aside, it is within these actions and convictions where we find true greatness.
When I write these pieces, I normally have some way of wrapping my thoughts into the work of EDC or the state of the local economy around us. But this time I will simply end here—acknowledging and appreciating the vulnerability and humanity that I have witnessed once again in these Olympic Games, and in all of you over the last year and a half, and hoping that you have found meaningful moments of your own in a summer that has gone by far too quickly.
For all EDC news, events and updates, please continue to follow along with us on social media, blog, and more. We remain appreciative and thankful for all of you, and for the support that you continue to provide our team.
Continue to stay healthy and safe and we look forward to seeing you in person in the months ahead.
With respect and gratitude,