2 CENTS 2 EMPOWER:
Your Win is Not Your Own
If you haven't been tuning into the Rio 2016 Olympics, I need you to get with the program.
While I've never been a big fan of the Olympics, this year in particular has captured and maintained my attention like no other. There are countless inspirational stories of phenomenally talented athletes, but one story in particular struck my core.
Wayde van Niekerk.
He hails from South Africa and is the new 400-meter world record holder with a winning time of 43.03 from the 8th lane. He beat Michael Johnson’s 17-year-old world record by .15 seconds.
There were three primary aspects of his story that stuck out to me:
- His mother, Odessa Swarts, was a champion track athlete who rose in the era of apartheid and, due to standing firmly in her beliefs. She chose to participate in the non-racial, anti-apartheid sport via the South African Council on Sport (SACOS). Any international opportunities were essentially blocked due to racism. In a Rio 2016 report she said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I was not intended to be an Olympic champion; I was intended to be the mother of an Olymic champion."
- His coach of 4 years is Ans Botha, a 74-year-old great-grandmother who has never coached an athlete that advanced to a platform of this magnitude.
- His win is symbolic of a new chapter to a now democratic South Africa, one that citizens say is attempting to embark on a new path to freedom and equality.
Niekerk stands on the shoulders of a mother who blazed a trail through oppression, a 74 year-old woman who believed she still had something to offer those coming up behind her, and a country that once nearly snuffed out the light of an entire generation with hopes and dreams.
His story--their stories--left me with three reminders about life and purpose:
- Your race is not your own. This is not just about you, it's about those coming up behind you. Therefore: your pain and sacrifice is not in vain.
- It is never too late to live some form of your purpose. No matter your age, you have something to offer the world. The question is: are you courageous enough to defy the limitations others will attempt to impose on you even if you are intimidated by the mission at hand?
- The torch is already there, it's up to you to become the light that gives it power and use. Carry it as far as you can for as long as you can...and have faith.
I'll continue to tune in as so many go on to break world records and defy the odds.
I don't know what race you're in at this point in your life, but remember each win is not your own.The lives of others are tied to your story, and your success is a testament to those who have believed in you and sacrificed for you.
You are a champion. I know it, and I hope you do too.
What are your thoughts about the RIO 2016 Olympics? Let me know your #2Cents2Empower via response to the email or on social media by using the hashtag! You may see your thought shared along with others in the next newsletter. ;-)