A little known fact about the 2012 London Olympic Games is that this year’s motto is Inspire a Generation, as the goal of these games is to inspire youth to take up sports and achieve personal bests in their daily lives. After watching just a few days of the games, I get it. I get how watching Michael Phelps become the greatest Olympian of all time, or the Fab Five achieve something that has only been done once before by a US Women’s Gymnastics team, and witnessing 17 year old Missy Franklin stand atop the podium for the first time to our National Anthem can inspire a generation. However, I’d like to propose a small change to this motto so that it reads Inspire EVERY Generation.
Why? Because for many, watching the Olympics can make you think only of your own shortcomings. But I’ve found that over the past few nights, as I sit in my living room watching The Games, I’ve been inspired to be proactive in my own lifestyle choices. While I may never set a World Record or have the world on the edge of their seat as I shoot for the finish line, I have turned down that slice of cake that has been taunting me from the refrigerator, gotten up to do a few stretches while my eyes remained locked on the screen, and have laid on the floor and counted out sets of sit-ups during commercials. This is not normal nightly behavior for me, but it is small ways that I have been motivated and inspired to be and do better, to begin my journey where a long, healthy life is my gold medal.
And just as I watched Michael Phelps lose his first race and Jordyn Wieber fail to qualify for a spot in the All-Around competition, I know that on my own race for gold, I am going to need to be better at being reactive and not let slipping from healthy eating and behaviors get me down. Instead of beating myself up for not being more active today, I need to focus on what I will do better tomorrow.
This is what I think all of us can learn from the Olympics, regardless of our generation: to be proactive and aspire to be the best possible versions of ourselves, but when we indubitably falter, to react in a positive and healthy way that compels us to continue on this journey. So as you tune in tonight to watch the competition for that coveted gold medal, think about your own life and how you can work towards being the best version of yourself, how you are going to get there, and why it is ok and how you will overcome moments that derail you.