Believe-A A +A
Friday, August 17, 2012
THERE were more losers than winners in the Olympics. Of the 10,500 athletes from 205 nations, should there be no ties for first place, a total of 302 gold medals were awarded in the 2012 London Olympics. While the winners celebrated their accomplishments, the losers withdrew in the shadows.
Beijing Olympics gold medalist Valerie Adams took her silver finish in London with a heavy heart, saying that she let down her country, New Zealand. On Aug. 13, the OIC awarded gold to Adams as the original winner was found positive with drugs.
None of the Filipino Olympians brought home a medal. Team Philippines chef de mission Manny Lopez said, “Our neighboring countries are also concerned with what is happening to the Philippines. Nakakalungkot ang nakita nating natatalo ang ating mga atleta (It’s disheartening to see our athletes lose).” He thought it was a consolation that low-profile nations Vietnam and Myanmar didn’t also appear.
One loser who stood out was 2004 gold medalist hurdler Liu Xiang. Xiang, who was a leading gold medal contender in the London Olympics, failed to finish the race as he fell over the first hurdle in the 110 meters event. Even though injured, he hopped until the finish line on one foot, after kissing the last hurdle.
Hungary’s Balazs Baji held Xiang in one arm, while at the same time raised the fallen champion’s hand aloft with the other. Baji said, “I respect him. I like him. It must be really bad for him. I’m really sorry. I didn’t say anything. I just couldn’t say anything.” Aries Merritt, world No 1, said: “It's just a tragedy for that to happen to one of the best hurdlers of all time.”
But here is the clincher. Xiang suffered the same fate before his countrymen in the Beijing Olympics when, due to a weakened heel, he was eliminated from the race. Defying the odds, the hurdler recovered from the 2008 debacle by winning silver in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.
The 80,000 strong crowd in the London stadium cheered Xiang as he was helped off the track and turned over to medical personnel. Xiang’s ordeal caused a Chinese TV commentator to weep on-air and most of the people in China called Xiang a true Olympic hero.
For the 10,198 athletes who didn’t make it to the champion’s podium, I have written a song, “Believe.” You are not losers, rather you are stars in your own right, for so long as you believed in yourself, and gave your very best in the heat of the competition.
Each one has a gift/ Each one has a reason/ To be living In this world./ We are meant to give/ We are born to follow/ The path of our dreams.
Refrain: Believe in who you are/ Believe in what you do/ Give the best of what you are/ You can go, yes you can go far/ You can be a star.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 18, 2012.