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The Olympic Games are almost over. 

And I for one am going to miss them.

I just love these games, and the athletes that represent us. 

So many great stories. 

And there’s nothing like the added rooting interest to pull for the good ol’ U-S-A.

As a skier myself, I’m in awe of what I’ve seen. The speed. The precision. The triumphs and the near misses. 

But each time I sit down to watch the Olympics, whether it’s Winter or Summer, my thoughts are the same.

It’s not the physical gifts that impress me so much. Sure, I applaud the fastest skier, the wild tricks of the snowboarders. And the speed skaters that clearly never skip “leg day.” 

I’m more impressed by the determination, the work, the early days and long nights of preparation that each athlete endures just to qualify. 

To represent their country. And if only for a moment, to control their own destiny and reach for their dream.

Most of all, it’s the mental toughness that is required of every athlete. Sure, some are just happy to be there, to soak it all in and compete. 

They don’t have a realistic chance of coming home with a medal.

For the contenders however, the difference between hanging a gold medal around your neck and crying tears of joy as the anthem plays – or not medaling at all – is a fraction of a second, a mistimed wobble, a small distraction. 

It must be difficult to work this hard for years and see your dream dashed in an eyelash. 

So while I congratulate all the medalists, it’s the 4th place finishers I admire the most. 

For they gave their all and held their heads high despite coming up just a bit short. 

We could all learn something from that. 

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