Tag Archives: Olympics

Olympic Quotes to Inspire You to Go for the Gold

What’s your favorite Olympic sport? Are you a figure skating or louge person? Maybe you prefer summer for the gymnastics or swimming? Whatever your sport may be the Olympics will be inescapable soon. Even if you aren’t a sports fan there is something inspiring about watching these athletes who dedicate their lives in pursuit of this single dream – of holding a gold medallion above their heads for all the world to see. They spend countless hours in gyms, on ice rinks, on snowboards or skis, giving their entire lives to get on to that podium. That is some serious dedication. What if we were all like that with our goals? Maybe we can be, and you can use these Olympic themed quotes to get you there.

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What is your favorite motivational quote? Share it in the comments below! 

Russian Anti-Gay Laws Cause Olympic Controversy

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 11.51.56 AMControversy has erupted in the past week over statements made by Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko regarding the LGBT community and the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics. Recent anti-gay laws set in place within Russia this June have made life as a member or ally of the LGBT community very difficult.

Individuals are not allowed to discuss what Mutko calls “non-traditional sexual orientations” in front of children. They are also prohibited from creating and presenting “propaganda” in public (ex. a rainbow flag) on behalf of the community. The exact details of what activities violate this law appear to be kind of wishy-washy, which means it’s difficult to know what kinds of activities are actually illegal. Regardless, offenders may be placed in jail, charged fines, or even deported.

A few days ago, disagreements began to run rampant as Mutko issued a statement that the laws will continue to be upheld throughout the Winter 2014 Olympics, which contradicted the previous statements made by the International Olympic Committee. With this law in place, competing athletes and spectators would be put at risk. Mutko stated, in an interview with R-Sport:

No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable.

Somewhat soon after, in what seems like a response to the uproar that followed these statements, Russian officials reversed them, saying that they plan to do the “politically correct” thing.

What do you think about the situation?

8 Amazing Photos of Athletes Who Rose to the Top In Spite of Missing Limbs

In the spirit of today’s Google+ Hangout on The Chopra Well – a conversation about “The Science of Survival” with Deepak Chopra, Sanjiv Chopra, Amy Purdy, and Bethany Hamilton – we are celebrating the remarkable resilience of the human body and spirit.

Mastering a sport is no easy business, even with fully functioning limbs and organs. Yet some athletes reach this level of physical prowess even in spite of tremendous obstacles, such as paralysis, cancer, or losing a limb. The difficulty associated with lost limbs, especially, is on the minds of many in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, which makes it all the more inspiring to see what athletes like snowboarder Amy Purdy, surfer Bethany Hamilton, and others have been able to accomplish.

Sarah Reinersten – Ironman Triathlete and Paralympian

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Zach Gowen – Professional wrestler

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Kyle Maynard – Mixed martial arts athlete

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Bethany Hamilton – Professional surfer

Bethany Hamilton driving through a barrel in Indonesia Fall 2009.

Amy Purdy – Snowboarder and Paralympic athlete

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Melissa Stockwell – Paratriathlete and U.S. Army Officer

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David Weir – Paralympic wheelchair athlete

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Jessica Long – Paralympic Swimmer

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News Anchors Burst into Laughter After Ryan Lochte Interview – Funny!

It’s nice to see professionals let loose every once in a while – especially news anchors who are usually so measured and contained. After a recent interview with Olympic-athlete-turned-reality-star Ryan Lochte, this Philadelphia news crew broke into uproarious laughter, proving that no amount of discipline can train away a sense of humor.

It may seem a bit cruel to have a laugh at Lochte’s expense, but it’s all in good faith. Between laughs, one of the anchors even says, “He’s so cute!” Take a look and let us know what you think: mean or just fun?

Lochte’s reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” will be premiering soon on E! which is why the swimmer has received considerable coverage of late. The show is expected to be fairly bland, even perhaps to flop, but who knows? Maybe Lochte will surprise us! Until then, here are the five best quotes from the pilot episode:

1. “I’ve talked in front of … like… a lot of big business people about stuff I didn’t even know.”

2. “The key to the Lochte haircut is being fresh and looking up-to-date.”

3. “These are my shoes that I designed from top to the very sole to the very top to the bottom. Laces.”

4. “One of my favorite movies: What Women Want.”

5. “The key to the Lochte haircut is being fresh and looking up-to-date.”

Not a fan of Ryan Lochte? What celebrity would you like to see with their very own reality t.v. show?

Pregnancy, Birth and Babies: 5 Articles We Love

We love babies. And women. And women who have babies. Here are some articles that touch on several aspects of pregnancy and birthing. Some stories, some tips, and a video that will melt your heart. Enjoy!

Imagine if one day all types of female bodies – including the pregnant ones – were respected enough to be featured regularly in the fashion world?

Raffaella Fico Pregnant On The Runway: Empowering Move or Publicity Stunt? (Blisstree)

Here are some pregnancy tips – take from them what you will. We’d add: do what feels right and be compassionate with yourself!

Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby: 6 Ways to Stay Strong & Sane During Pregnancy (MindBodyGreen)

This volleyball player competed in the Olympics while she was five weeks pregnant. She won. And now she’s 11 weeks pregnant. True story.

Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings was Pregnant During Olympics. Still Beat Everyone (Yahoo! Shine)

Ina May Gaskin, the country’s leading midwife, argues that a woman’s choice goes far beyond the right to choose an abortion or not. Many have to fight for their right to labor, too.

When Delivering an Infant, Women Deserve Choice (Care2)

And for some extra baby love, watch this video. Please. You won’t regret it.

Life: Captured in 5 Minutes (Positively Positive)

Why I am so proud for Gabby Douglas

I’m going out on a limb to say this may have been the best week of Gabby Douglas’ life thus far. On Tuesday, the sixteen-year-old celebrated a victory for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team in team event. They’re called the “Fierce Five” for a reason. On Thursday, Gabby realized the dream of probably every young gymnast in the world and won the gold in the all-around. Understandably, as she told ESPN, “it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

I’m not a particularly avid gymnastics fan, or sports fan for that matter. But I’ve been following the U.S. women’s gymnastics team in this year’s Olympic adventures, and I’m completely riveted. On Wednesday I wrote about the Fierce Five’s win in team event and how proud I am for their spirit and athleticism, despite the overwhelming media focus on sex and drugs in Olympic reports. Today my hat goes off to Gabby, the real mascot of this year’s games.

Writers like to describe Gabby as”sassy“, “electric“, and “dazzling.” They emphasize her contagious smile and bubbling personality. The message is: she’s cute, she’s pretty, she’s exactly what a teenage girl should be. Not to mention the fact that she’s tiny (just 94 pounds!), very young and, most importantly, she’s American. She’s our very own American sweetheart.

Honestly, what I’m more interested in is her unfathomable athleticism, strength, intelligence, and flexibility. Gabby left home at age fourteen to pursue her dream of being an Olympic gymnast. After just two years of training with Liang Chow, former coach for Shawn Johnson, who won gold and silver metals in the 2008 Olympics, Gabby has made the wildest dream her wildest reality. The speed of Gabby’s ascent to gold is virtually unprecedented. And Gabby isn’t just a good gymnast; she is a phenomenal athlete. She didn’t just win; she stole the show. Smiles and sass aside, Gabby reminds me why I love the Olympics.

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Intent of the Day: Mind Over Matter

“I intend to find a positive in every negative, perception is reality.”

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Michael Phelps made history yesterday by becoming the most decorated Olympian ever. Our hearts also became warm with pride as they put his 19th medal on him. It was an inspirational moment and many of us asked ourselves, “how does he do it?”

The USA women’s gymnastics team also won the gold medal for the team competition in artistic gymnastics. When team captain Aly Raisman was on the balance beam, the commentator said something that struck me. She said that Raisman stays calm under all the pressure by adjusting her perspective to the competition. Could that really be the answer? Hard work and dedication is essential to success but not everybody is able to withstand the pressure in the end. No matter how much you prepare, sometimes your nerves get the best of you.

Take public speaking for example. You can have the world’s most eloquent speech prepared, but unless you deliver it with confidence, it won’t have the same effect. A common piece of advice given to people that are afraid of public speaking is to imagine the audience in their underwear. This works because you are changing your perspective. Instead of being intimidated by the audience, you build your own confidence by imagining them in their most vulnerable form.

You can apply this trick in many other ways in your life. If you are taking an exam, instead of hating the material and running away from it – embrace it, love it and remember that you will succeed. If you are trying to lose weight, stop thinking of working out and eating healthy as difficult and unpleasant and change your perspective to it. You have to learn how to train your mind, because it is the most powerful tool that you have to accomplish your goals.

Going back to Aly Raisman and Michael Phelps, they succeed because instead of focusing on all the negatives they focus on the positive. They do not think of tumbling off or falling back, they think of winning, glory and happiness, and that is what gets them on to the medal podium.

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Give It Up for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team!

Gabrielle Douglas of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team

Many of the reports from the 2012 London Olympics have highlighted illicit drug use, scandalous affairs, and the never-ending debate over “who’s the hottest Olympic athlete.”

Let’s take a moment to focus our attention elsewhere, and celebrate five American teenagers’ exciting victory.

The U.S. women’s gymnastics team will bring home the gold metal in the team event, for the first time since 1996. They finished with final total score of 183.596, beating Russia’s 178.530 and Romania’s 176.414, according to today’s Los Angeles Times.

From AOL Sporting News: “Team members of the U.S., which led the competition from the start, held hands as they waited for results to be published on the big screen at the 02 Arena. Gymnasts and coaches responded with hugs and wiped away tears when the score was final—a seventh gold for Team USA in these London Olympics.”

They displayed skill and prowess in vault, then vibrant exuberance in floor exercise. It is this shining talent that has lead many to name the team the “Fab Five,” and, perhaps more aptly, the “Fierce Five.”

I’m proud because this is a win for the U.S. I’m proud because it comes from a team of teenage girls. I’m proud because it has nothing to do with sex, drugs, or looking hot. It’s all about being fierce and fabulous, which these five ladies do to a T.

Are you excited about the “Fierce Five”? Leave your comments below!

 

Remember The Time You Almost Died.

When I am feeling down, depressed, sad, scared about where my life is going, I try to remember and think about all the times I was almost killed. This might sound morbid, but if you really think about what you are stressing out over at this moment, right now, it is probably not a matter of life and death. We spend so much time scared and worried about losing or gaining things that don’t really matter when you break them down into life and death. 

Which is worse, having bad credit… or being dead? 

If you are alive, you have probably avoided being killed in one way or another many times in your life. 

Here is one of the times I almost died that I pulled from one of my previous musings:

 "Being from Atlanta allowed me some serious access to the 1996 Olympics. Several of my friends from school, boarding school, yeah bad boy, came to visit and check out the spectacle. My friends "The Twins," Paul and Shaun, and Shaun’s girlfriend Molly came to visit for a couple of days in the hopes of seeing the Dream Team II in action.

We didn’t have any tickets. I don’t know if you remember the 1996 Olympics, but there were several minor logistic and PR debacles surrounding the ticket sales, the pinnacle of which was someone calling in to buy tickets from New Mexico and being told that the line they had called was for U.S. residents only.

Yep, no tickets, but that wasn’t going to stop us from going down, checking out the crowd, and seeing what the scalpers were trying to charge. The Twins and I had a history of scalping basketball tickets. I am pretty sure that I never went to a basketball game with them that we didn’t have to scalp tickets to. 

We took the subway down to Centennial Olympic Park, and as you can imagine, there were a ton of people. People selling and scamming these little pins and buttons. The heat was prime Georgia summer, hot and so humid that it was raining in my pants. 

I have to admit that I was skeptical of our chances of finding tickets that we could afford, but the more we talked to scalpers, the more we came to realize that our dreams of seeing the Dream Team II were probably within our reach.

Luck was on our side that day… along with the color of our skin. Hanging around outside the Basketball arena was a pair of white supremacist scalpers, only selling tickets to white people. Before approaching them, we watched this blonde man and woman angrily turn away at least half a dozen non-white people interested in their tickets. While we were talking to them, working our deal, they viciously denied several more interested parties. 

Let me just be clear. I don’t understand nor condone whatever their geopolitical, racial, religious ideologies and beliefs were, but at the time the price was nice. I can’t remember the exact price of the tickets, but I do remember that they basically sold them to us at only slightly above face value. 

What did we get? 

Tickets to a basketball double header. I don’t remember countries that played first, but the second game was between the USA Dream Team II and China, and it was great. The US team destroyed China in a fun spectacle, truly making a show of sport. Charles Barkley led the crowd and several teammates in a sing along to the song "YMCA" during a time out. These and several other showboat moves gave the game a Harlem Globe Trotter feel. 

We left the game feeling great. We had just witnessed a fun little piece of Olympic history at a price that was nice. 

It had been a long day, and it was getting late, so we decided to head home rather than sticking around the park and loitering. We hopped on the train and headed home. 

When we got off the train, I used a pay phone to call my mom to come pick us up. This was back when only Zach Morris had a cell phone. Also, I know, you would think that if we were grown up enough to attend an international event by ourselves, we would be grown up enough to get home on our own, but I will never be grown up enough not to want a ride. 

My mom answered the phone with a casual, "Oh, good. You’re alive." 

Life is strange. 

Moments after we left Centennial Olympic Park on July 27, 1996, moments before we got on the train to go home, moments after we strolled right through what would be the blast area, the pipe bomb went off, injuring over 100 people and killing 2.

Luckily, we didn’t dilly or dally. Luckily, the Chinese were not even close to being a match for the US team, and the game didn’t go into overtime. Luckily, I don’t have any scars to remind me of this time I almost died… only happy memories."

 

So, when I feel down, I try to remember that I could have easily been maimed or killed that night, and if I had been killed, I wouldn’t have any student loan debt, a need for a job, car problems, relationship problems, or rent to pay. If I was dead wouldn’t have to figure out how to end this blog post. 

 

5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From the Olympics

The Winter Olympics in Vancouver have captured the attention of the world.  As a former college and professional baseball player (and a lifelong sports fan), I ve always loved the Olympics and appreciated the incredible athleticism, competition, and passion of the athletes and teams, from a pure sports perspective.  However, having been a live spectator at both the Atlanta and Sydney Summer Games, I ve experienced first-hand the true spirit of the Olympics which has been on display these past two weeks in Vancouver in a beautiful way.

There s something truly magical that happens during the Olympics.  While many of us are enjoying rooting for our country and we ve seen some remarkable performances in Vancouver from people like Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Evan Lysacek, Bode Miller, and many others the real magic of the Olympics is way bigger than any individual athlete or even any country.  And, if we look deeper, there are so many aspects of the Olympics that can teach us, remind us, and inspire us on our own personal journey.

Here are some of the most important elements and lessons of the Olympics:

1) Ceremony.  The Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver were breathtaking and spectacular (as was also true with the Summer Olympics in China in 2008 and with most of the Olympic opening ceremonies of the past few decades).  Beyond the amazing technology, creativity, and spectacle of these ceremonies, there is a deeper commitment to beauty, ritual, and reverence.  The Olympics are also filled with ceremonies throughout medal ceremonies, the Closing Ceremonies, and more.  For us to live lives of meaning, purpose, and spirit it s essential that we honor ourselves, others, and life in a ceremonious way.

2) Excellence.  The Olympics, as much as any other sporting event, are all about excellence.  The intense training, incredible competition, and extraordinary pressure of having to focus a lifetime s worth of experience into one single performance, create an authentic sense of drama that is unique and exciting, albeit nerve-wracking.  However, when we think of excellence in regards to the Olympics or other things in life, we often think about winning.   While there s nothing wrong with winning and our culture puts a high value on it (just look at the attention and adulation given to the gold medal winners in Vancouver), there is much more to real excellence than simply winning.  Every athlete in Vancouver has made a commitment to excellence even though the vast majority of them will not win medals and we ll never even know their names.  On our own path, it s important for us to make a commitment to excellence to go for it, dig down deep, and give it our best shot whether or not we end up winning. 

3)  Passion.  The Olympics are filled with passion from the athletes, the host city, and the fans in person and around the world.  The emotions experienced and expressed during the Olympics, as we ve seen these past two weeks, are intense and passionate.  We ve seen the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat on display each and every day.  It s this passion that makes the Olympics so intriguing, exciting, and fun to experience.  In our own lives and on our own journeys, passion is a key component to growth, success, and fulfillment.  So often we hold back our passion waiting to see how things will turn out.  However, to live life with depth, purpose, and aliveness, we have to tap into our passion in an authentic way and use it as inspiration, regardless of the outcome.

4)  Play.  One of the greatest things about the Olympics is that they are called games.   This is a wonderful metaphor which reminds us that while sports (and life) can be intense and pressure-filled, they are really just games we are playing.  The games played at the Olympics, not un-like in many aspects of our own lives, are played at a pretty high level and are done so with fairly high stakes.  But, at the end of the day, they are all just games.  Each athlete in Vancouver started in their sport as a child because it was fun, not because they wanted to win a gold medal, be on TV, or get big endorsement deals. This is a great reminder for all of us. We often get so serious and caught up in results, we forget to play. Play is essential.  Scientific studies have shown that the same brain waves are generated in a high state of play as in a high state of meditation.

5)  Unity.  The athletes at the Olympics come together to represent their countries and to compete for something bigger than themselves.  I had the privilege of playing for the USA baseball team in the World Championships when I was 18 years old.  It was one of the greatest honors of my life and such a profound experience.  And although in the Olympics there is a big focus, especially by the media, on individual performances as well as country competition (i.e. medal count), at the deepest level, the Olympics are about a greater sense of unity amongst all nations.  There is a sense of mutual respect, admiration, and appreciation that exists at the Olympics both with athletes and fans.  I felt it on the streets of Atlanta and Sydney when I was there and see it on TV whenever I watch the Olympics now.  The Olympics provide a stage for the world to engage, compete, and interact with one another in a beautiful way.  One of the most important elements of our personal journey is to recognize that we are more alike than we are different.  Those whom we compete against, have conflict with, and want to beat, are just people, like us, who have similar hopes, fears, and dreams.  At the most basic and yet profound level, we are all one.  Anything and everything we can do to see, remember, and remind ourselves and others of this innate unity gives us access to deeper connection and truth.

I love the Olympics!  Not only do we get to watch extraordinary athletes complete at the highest level but we get to tap into something profound and magical that can remind us of our true power, passion, and oneness.

Have you been following the Winter Olympics in Vancouver?  What have you noticed about them that inspires you and can help remind you about important aspects of your own life and growth? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more on my blog here.

 

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