My favorite Olympic moment is one that epitomizes sportsmanship.
New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin was lying on the track, after a heavy fall and the reality of her chances at medaling, over. Unexpectedly, she felt a hand on her shoulder and heard someone saying to her, “Get up. We have to finish this.”
It was American Abbey D’Agostino, offering to help. In response, Hamblin recalls thinking, “Yup, yup, you’re right. This is the Olympics Games. We have to finish this.”
Both runners were on their feet and continuing in the race, but D’Agostino was in pain. She didn’t make it far before collapsing again. This time, it was Hamblin’s turn to help a fellow Olympian, a competitor, back on her feet.
Both runners completed the race. Both runners sacrificed their chances at medaling because they stopped to help one another in their quest to cross the finishing line.
The reminder for me in this Olympic moment is that it’s not only important to finish the race, but also, how you run the race.
Joni Eareckson Tada is such a hero at this – whether in a book, while speaking, or in her daily radio programs, “Joni and Friends®“ and “Diamonds in the Dust”, she focuses on the one who equips us to not only cross the finish line but who helps us to run the race well . . . while encouraging others along the way.
In a recent radio program, Joni reflects:
“And if you know someone who’s struggling against hopelessness, there are ways you can help foster hope. Surround your loved one with prayer. And draw him or her out of social isolation… take a walk, spend time in a park watching children play. Meet any practical needs and provide whatever resources are required – sometimes a little hands-on help lightens the spirits. Encircle your loved one with spiritual community – people who will uplift and encourage. And finally, keep nudging the one without hope toward the blessed hope, Jesus.”
By the way, both Hamblin and D’Agostino have been awarded a special Olympic medal for sportsmanship, the Pierre de Coubertin medal, which has only been awarded previously 17 times in Olympic history.
Lee Ann Jackson
Ambassador Advertising. We Connect. Ministry and Media.
P.S. Joni shares more practical steps about to foster hope and encourage others to run the race in her booklet Gaining a Hopeful Spirit. Contact me for your free copy!