As the Olympics came to a close this weekend, it gave us the opportunity to reflect upon the many amazing stories that have inspired us over the last two weeks, or as we like to call them, the life lessons the Olympics taught us. We used to think that being an incredible sportsperson was all about being the toughest, but these games have shone an important light on prioritising mental health, perseverance, and standing up for what you believe in. These athletes are paving the way for future sportspeople and spectators all around the world. Here are 8 important life lessons the Olympics taught us.
Someone else winning doesn’t take away from your success
An incredible Olympic high jump final ended with both Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi in a tie. Instead of a jump-off, each taking turns until they beat the score and just one of them was a winner, they decided to share the gold medal instead. Friends and competitors, it was a wonderfully touching show of sportsmanship where both athletes celebrated their successes united.
You are worth more than any title or achievement
Simone Biles, often described as the GOAT gymnast (greatest of all time!), chose to withdraw from a selection of events to prioritise her mental health. The weight of expectations on her as Team U.S.A.’s biggest star at the Tokyo Games became tougher by the day, and in the hours before competing she said she was shaking. Eventually she withdrew following her first event after feeling lost in the air during vaulting, deciding she wasn’t in the right headspace. Simone brought the topic of mental health to the forefront of these Olympic games with many applauding how open and brave she had been. Afterwards, she wrote on Instagram ‘the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.’
Real courage is being afraid and doing it anyway
GB’s Charlotte Worthington, a former chef from Manchester, who only took up BMX seriously five years ago, won the gold medal in the BMX freestyle final with an incredibly brave performance. In her first run, she fell attempting to land her key move. Instead of opting for a less difficult second run, she went totally for broke landing an absolutely perfect 360-degree backflip – the first woman ever to do so in a competition – and throwing in a load of other difficult tricks for good measure!
Alone you can fast, but together you can go far
200m world champion, Dina Asher-Smith, couldn’t complete the 100m semi-final and had withdrawn from the 200m after she couldn’t recover properly from a hamstring injury. However, she decided to return to the competition to help out her team, consisting of Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot and Daryll Neita, leading the 4 x 100m relay. Together, they achieved a new national record in the heats, as well as taking home a bronze medal.
You should always stand up for what you believe is right
The German gymnastic team decided to wear full-body suits in their qualifications because they wanted to continue to make a stand against the sexualisation of women in their sport. They chose the unitards that completely covered their arms and legs to show that every woman should have the right to choose what makes them feel most comfortable while competing.
You are never too young or old to chase a dream
During the Olympics, Sky Brown became a role model for young girls around the world wanting to take up skateboarding. It was only last year she fell from a ramp during training and fractured her skull, and not only that, she broke her arm before her Olympic qualifier coming first whilst wearing a cast! None of that stopped the 13-year-old skateboarder from chasing her dream. After winning a bronze medal, Sky officially became the country’s youngest-ever Olympic medallist. Go, Sky!
A true champion keeps trying no matter how long it takes
Tom Daley has been a big name in diving since he attended his first Olympics when he was Britain’s youngest ever competitor at the age of 14. This was now his fourth Olympics, winning a bronze in London 2012 and Rio 2016, the gold medal seemed to be elusive. Now 27 and 13 years after his first Olympics, Tom Daley took home his first gold medal alongside Matty Lee with their outstanding synchronised 10m platform dive. An incredibly emotional moment for Tom and so many of us who have watched him handle the death of his father from cancer and coming out as gay, becoming an incredible LGBTQ+ advocate. We couldn’t be happier for him.
Falling in life is ok, you just need to get back up again
Swapping her career as a schoolteacher to focus on her Olympic dream, Jessie Knight’s perseverance to continue doing what she loves is nothing less than inspiring. After having to isolate when arriving in Tokyo, Jessie faced a tough start to her Olympic journey. There was an initial false start of the 400m hurdle heat and the race had to be restarted, where Jessie then missed her footing and fell at the first hurdle. On Twitter, Jessie said the sport had broken her but she was looking forward to getting back over the hurdles. She then quoted us with ‘Falling in life is okay, you just need to get back up again’, which we were so honoured about. We will all be rooting for her in Paris 2024!
So there are 8 life lessons the Olympics taught us! Have we missed any? What moment of the Games inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram.
P.S. Love these 8 life lessons the Olympics taught us? You can download it as a free printable here!