I am truly excited for the Olympic Games that kicked off today in Beijing. I will be cheering on the athletes from my living room in the coming weeks, but was fortunate to spend time in Beijing last summer as they were ramping up for the games. While every city and host nation of an Olympics has their shortcomings and challenges, I found Beijing beautiful, buzzing with activity and the people hospitable, talented and looking to the future.
I love the Olympics, because to me, it represents a unique opportunity in which the world is watching, watching the athletes and watching each other. Sure the U.S., China and other large/wealthy nations will be well represented in the “medal count” (a term I hate) but who will emerge the true leaders? We will look to our athletes- will they prove the leaders we hope for? Will teams comprised of arguably the best talent in the world develop that leader-supporter dynamic required to succeed in this venue? —or will the needs of the individual supersede the need of the team… (US Men’s Basketball-?-?)
We also look to the supporters following our teams- televised globally- we get to see how fans, representatives of different cultures, unofficial ambassadors of their nations and sports react to competition. I love the Olympics because it challenges us to be leaders in our followership. It challenges us to champion talent and applaud a great effort- win or lose – our team or the other. I am hopeful that Bob Costas will present great stories of the athletes overcoming adversity to make it to the games and focus the live event coverage commentary championing the cases of personal bests – even if that personal best didn’t result in Olympic medal.
So let us be leaders in supporting our respective nations of origin or adoption and cheer on all athletes!