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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Persevere and bring home the gold

by Pam Roth
When I think about perseverance, I am reminded of the U.S. men’s swim team when they brought home the gold from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  Cullen Jones, Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale made up the team of swimmers for the men’s 400m freestyle relay.  Diverse in ethnicity as well as age, these men had one thing in common -  they were not going to give up…they were going to persevere and bring home the gold.

The French were favored to win the meet and had even said that they would “smash the Americans.”  But the tide was turned on Alain Bernard and his team from France when Jason Lezak, the oldest man on the American team, literally kicked it in to high gear and won the race by eight-hundredths of a second breaking the world record of 3:12.23.

The United States was trailing France by a little more than half a second at the end of the third leg of the race.  Lezak, dove in, swimming against the 100m free style world record-holder, Alain Bernard.  The French were in the lead at the final turn and then Lezak and Bernard were swimming neck-and-neck when thirty-two year old Jason Lezak had a sudden burst of energy, launching forward and reaching the wall in a split second before Bernard.

It was an amazing race.  Millions of Americans must have been screaming right along with Michael Phelps when they saw the results.  I know I was up on my feet cheering the team on and yelling, “Amazing…they won, they won!”  There is truly something inspirational about seeing someone come from behind and winning against all odds.

In their song, More Than Fine, the Christian group Switchfoot sings these words:

I want more than just ok, more than just ok.

I’m not giving up, giving up, not giving up now.
I’m not giving up, giving up, not backing down.

More than fine, more than bent on getting by.
More than fine, more than just ok.

Every time I hear those words, I want to break out running like an Olympian and in my mind; I have this image of running up seventy-two stairs to the Philadelphia Museum just like Rocky Balboa did in the original Rocky movie.  Some how those words give me the extra push I need to keep on keeping on…to reach my goal.

What motivates you?  The team you’re on?  Someone challenging you?  A song?  The desire to reach a goal?  Or maybe you are like Jason Lezak, the oldest member of the swim team, you want to prove it to yourself that you can reach the goal and win.  Well, what ever it is, persevere like the U.S. men’s swim team and bring home the gold.

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