Photo Credit: Simone Biles’ Instagram
Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no electricity, wifi, or any contact with the outside world, there’s a fairly good chance you’ve heard those names before. Simone Biles (19) and Aly Raisman (22) are 2 of the 5 members of the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, along with Gabby Douglas (20), Laurie Hernandez (16), and Madison Kocian (19). This was the headline of an article that was part of USA Today’s continuing coverage of the Olympics and outlined Team USA’s domination of the all-around competition with a one-two placement – Simone receiving 1st and Aly being awarded 2nd. Similar to the 2012 London Olympics, the USA Women’s Gymnastics team has been the talk of the town – and the globe. Team leader Aly Raisman and media-dubbed “greatest gymnast ever,” Simone Biles, had particularly standout performances.
For me, part of the appeal of the Olympics is not just the nations coming together to compete with the hopes of bringing home both good and great honor for their country, but the camaraderie that comes along with that competition. The recent photo of the North Korean and South Korean gymnasts sharing a selfie together went viral, while the front page of an issue of the New York Times broadcasted the amity between two 5,000 meter runners, one from the United States and the other from New Zealand who helped each other get up and finish the race after an entanglement sent both runners crashing to the track. These moments are what make the Olympics special, not the medal counts, the endorsement deals, or the publicity.
Simone and Aly’s 1st and 2nd places from the all-around competition mentioned above were then echoed during the finals for floor exercise, which is Aly’s favorite and arguably best event. She was ready to defend her title as queen of the floor routine having received gold in that event in London, but ultimately, the gold was slipped out of her hands and into fellow teammate, Simone’s. Disappointment might have been an emotion momentarily felt by Aly, but if it was, I didn’t notice it. All I observed was love and support between the two gymnasts. No animosity, no side eyes. No snide comments were made and no eyes were rolled.
The “Olympic Spirit” is strong in these two athletes, as well as all throughout these games. However, this “Olympic Spirit” shouldn’t be a regular occurrence once every 4 years. It should be a common every day occurrence amongst us regular non-super athletic, non-medal wearing folks. We should heed Proverbs 24:17 and Romans 12:15 and be quick to help our neighbor up when they fall and rejoice with them when they win! We’re all running the same race, and a win for someone else doesn’t necessarily have to be a loss for us. This is not only what it takes to have Olympic spirit, but a Christian spirit as well. This attitude is what sets us apart and what will make us acquirers of gold medals as opposed to going home empty handed.