Broken Olympic Dreams

My heart is broken!  Have you heard that a French male gymnast broke his leg vaulting on day one of the Olympic Games.  What are the chances?  I’m no statistical genius, but I know that this man trained probably around 30 hours a week and performed this skill multiple times.  How could this happen to such a skilled athlete?

If you aren’t familiar with the way gymnastics works at the Olympic level, I’ll give you a brief explanation.  The first day, the gymnasts compete with their national squad on all four (WAG) or six (MAG) apparatus. The scores from this session are not used to award medals, but are used to determine which teams advance to the team finals and which individual gymnasts advance to the all-around and event finals. After this first day, the gymnast advance to Team Finals, All-Around Finals, and then Event Finals.  These are the competitions that the gymnast can win a medal.

As I watched them place his incredibly muscular body on the stretcher, my heart broke.  This man trained his entire career for this opportunity of making it to these coveted games, and on the first day he broke his leg.  How could his story be written like this?

I know it’s not all about winning a medal.  Just making it to the Olympics is an extreme accomplishment that many people never get to experience.  However, being an athlete myself, I never went to an event that I didn’t plan to give it my absolute best.  I know this misfortune is going to bring this male much devastation.

How many of us have dreams, and we almost see it to the end, but break our leg on day one?  Did you ever feel like you are working so hard at something and you just can’t see the end in sight?  Whatever your dream was, don’t give up on it.  It was put in your heart for a reason, and when the going gets tough, that is just a test to see if you want this dream enough.

This male gymnast still has hopes to get a medal at the Olympic Games.  That is why there is a team award.  Sure, his Olympic experience didn’t quite follow the dream he envisioned, but his experience is still not over.  Male gymnasts’ careers are much longer than women’s and he might be able to make the Olympics again in four years’ time.

Life is going to chuck a broken leg, or other setbacks, at us many times in our lifetime.  It’s what we do with our lives after the bone heals that will determine how our life will continue to roll.  You can admit defeat, and change your dream, or you can get back up on the vault strip and try that vault again and see where it takes you.

Ephesians 3:20 tells us, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”  We can do far more than we think we can do, but so many of us don’t ask or think that God can provide what we want him to provide.  We forget to use his amazing power to help us get over our hurdles to reach our dreams.

Sure, this man is heartbroken now—geeze, I am heartbroken for him.  I am more than positive that if he turns to God to help him heal quickly and return to the gymnastics gym, he can become an even better gymnast in four years’ time, if it is God’s will.  We just have to be patient and wait for the miracles to unfold.

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