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Everyone's a Winner at the Olympics

For sports fans the Olympics is the epitome of human achievement. How exciting is it to watch the gold medal winner for any event step up onto the podium to receive their 15 minutes of fame. But what about the athletes who have trained for four years and go home empty-handed?

It's only human to focus on the best swimmer, the best gymnast, the best diver. Yet it is an outstanding achievement simply to be selected to go to the Olympics. To come home empty-handed is not a sign of failure.

There is much we can learn about the human condition simply by watching the Olympics. For obvious reasons, this four-year event is full of a range of emotions, both for participants and spectators alike. Winners cry, we cry with them. A participant falls off the balanced beam, we share their disappointment and humiliation. But we also marvel at their perseverance and determination to go on despite the fact they know the eyes of the world are upon them. We admire them for their courage.

The camera does not follow those participants who came fourth, fifth, etc, but we know they participated to the best of their ability. In some ways it's also a pity that there must be a medal tally that delineates one country from another, because all who attend the Olympics are champions in their own right, regardless of race. The Olympics is a chance for us to see one aspect of the strength of the human spirit and the dedication and determination of which we all possess, even if our qualities do not manifest in athletic ability.

Winners come and go and, ironically, most of us would be pushed to name more than 10 Olympic medallists from a variety of countries. But it clearly isn't the medals that make the Olympics so popular. It’s not really about winning that keeps us coming back every four years. It is the coming together of citizens from all over the world who strive not only for their personal best, but in their own small way make the world a better place.

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