Why It’s Good When We See Olympians Fail

Gina Butz identity 4 Comments

why it's good when we see Olympians fail

photo from Pixabay

My daughter and I spent 3 hours Friday biting our nails and holding our breath, watching the US Women’s National Soccer team play Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Olympics. It came down to PKs, and they lost. They. Lost.

The team favored to win the gold is out of the Olympics.

If it was up to me, they’d still be blazing a trail toward the top of that podium. I’m going to have to boycott IKEA for awhile (although I really need some RÄTTVIK). But as it stands, these women will go home empty-handed.

I’m choosing to see the good in it.

Because here is a chance for our kids to see that you can be the best at something and still fail.

Sometimes the game doesn’t go your way. You miss the shot. The call isn’t fair. Sometimes you work as hard as you can for your dream and it falls short. You just can’t make it happen, no matter how amazing you are.

And if all that’s true, then our kids can see that being the best is a precarious platform on which to build your identity.

It is gone in a heartbeat. These Olympic games show us over and over that value built on achievement slips through our fingers based on hundredths of seconds and millimeters of space.

So we remind them that as we reach high for our dreams, we also sink our roots into the solid ground of who we are in Jesus.

That way, whatever the outcome, we are unfazed, because we aren’t building a home on our performance. It’s built on Him and it can’t be shaken.

Throughout these Olympics, we will see dreams rise and fall. What a great reminder to put our faith and hope in that which cannot be taken from us, to remember that what we do and how well we do it is never a reflection of our worth.


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Comments 4

  1. Yes! I share your thoughts on this topic. I, myself, feel affirmed when I witness an Olympian fail to reach an expected goal. It serves as a reminder that we are human and that our identity ultimately lies beyond any strength, talent, skill. Some of these athletes come to the Olympics after becoming media celebrities and brand ambassadors. They are under intense pressure to perform according to their own hopes as well as others’ expectations. And sometimes, they leave the Olympics with no medal and their athletic “failures” captured in front of millions of people. When I am tempted to become discouraged because of my own less than stellar moments at things for which I am usually quite skilled, I am reminded of Olympians’ falls. One bad moment does not define us. Our identity as God’s children through Christ does.

    1. There’s always such a great opportunity afterwards, too, to see how they respond in defeat. I’m always impressed when people can separate who they are from how they did.

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