Sunday, August 5, 2012

Women in the Olympics and Community

As I have been watching Olympics this week (oh yes, hundreds of hours!) I am reminded of what I love best about this greatest of sporting events! I love the sense of community. It begins with the opening ceremony as each team parades into the arena behind their Nation Flag; a member of their Home community and it ends at the closing ceremony (my favorite!) with all the athletes coming in together; a member of the Olympian community! They live together in the Olympic Village (even Murray the tennis star; stayed a few days even tho' he lives in London so he could be apart of the experience), they eat together and they spend time with people from other countries. A community is formed.

I have always been aware of this happening, but this year there has been more talk of it from the athletes themselves. There was talk of what they were doing and how it would affect others; especially young people watching who will see the possibilities they may have never thought possible. I am hearing less of what this will do for them as an individual and more about the community they came from and are returning to.There running in the 400 meter track race was a man from South Africa who is a double amputee. What an example for people all over the world as they watch and hear his story. It is about the stories too. That is what makes community. Telling the stories.

But what has stood out the most to me is that within this community there are more women then ever competing. In fact there are more women at the Olympics this year than men! A far cry from the beginning when women were not allowed to compete, but had their own competitions.

And what women bring to the table is that sense of community and story telling. And the story telling is not always oral.

Surghar Daily, the Afganistan Muslim woman who ran in a track event wearing her Hajab, respecting the religious community she is a part of where women must be covered at all times. She was last, but what she said was how much she hoped she was giving young girls in her country the message that can break out of their shell and achieve so much more than they are told they can.

Hala Gezah, Libya's track star, speaks of all she has had to go through in her country to make it this far. She has been ridiculed and yet she has made it in a country where she was expected to be pregnant at age 13 and has stood her ground as she pursued her dreams. She too spoke of being that role model for girls in her country.

Wodan Shaherkhani is the first Saudi woman to be in the Olympics and competed in Judo. Again speaking o what she will bring back to her country.

And then we have Jordyn Wieber, US gymnastic. Talk about example of it "not being all about her" and all about the community. She was the one expected to take the Gold in the All Around and she didn't quality to compete in that event. She was mortified and so upset, but when it came time to compete for the Gold Team metal she was instrumental in having those metals hung around all 5 shoulders. It was no longer about the fact she could not compete in the All Around; it was all about the community of the Fab Five and she was incredible!

Gabby was the first African American Woman to win the All Around Gold Metal. She spoke of how she was humbled thinking about the young black girls watching her and believing that one day they could achieve the same. She will bring that hope back to her community!

This is only a few of the wonderful stories at the Olympics. We should watch and learn about what healthy competition looks like; what community looks like; and strive to be like that every day.

So, as I think about all of this I return to the fact that there are more women competing than ever before. Women bring community. Women tell stories. Women embrace peace and harmony. Yes, I love watching the sporting events. For those who know me I am a sports addict and geek! But when it comes to the Olympics I see through the Veil! I see more than the score of who wins and which flags are flown at the metal ceremonies. I see community!

And this looks more like the Goddess than ever!

Blessed be!

Athletes marching in together at the closing ceremony of Beijing 2008!

1 comment:

  1. ♥♥♥ strong women role models for our younger spirits encouraging them to achieve no matter their personal circumstances!!! ahhh.... yes!!! <*)