Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Lessons in Age

For the last week, I have been addicted to the 2008 Olympics. I can hardly tear myself away from the television. In fact for two Saturdays in a row, I haven't torn myself away. I've sat in the house for hours on end... watching. I'm not embarrassed to admit it either. The lessons of the Olympics are many and are profound. But my favorite so far is the age lesson.

"Don't put an age limit on your dreams." Dara Torres

Torres is 41. In her fifth Olympic appearance, she placed 2nd in her only individual event, winning a silver medal behind a 16-year-old German swimmer. Her teammate Jason Lezak is 32. He is the oldest guy on the team and TWICE swam the last leg of a relay, helping young Michael Phelps win his record-breaking eight gold medals.

But Torres and Lezak aren't the oldest Americans in this year's summer Olympics. Sailor John Dane has made his first U.S. Olympic Team at the age of 58. Libby Callahan of shooting will be the oldest U.S. female Olympian all-time, at the age of 56. And topping out all of the Olympics is Hiroshi Hiketsu, an equestrian rider from Japan, who is 67.

Last night, I watched a 38-year-old woman win the Olympic marathon and tonight a 35-year-old gymnast won the bronze medal in the women's vault. So the lessons continue. The reminders are daily.

You don't have to give up on your dreams simply because you are past the age that society prescribes as ideal. With commitment and dedication, you can do anything. No matter how old you are...

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