FRIDAY FOOTPRINT FLASH – Sad to see the Olympics end

Despite critics who roil that the commercialized branding of the Olympics tarnishes the ideals of amateur competition, each games provides the wow of the extraordinary, the human-bests in feats of skill, strength, power, and grace, and a reminder that it’s the athletes themselves who won’t allow the games to erode to anything less.

The innocent charm of say Squaw Valley, or Innsbruck or even the more recent Salt Lake City is a bygone given the realities of a post 9-11 world, and for some athletes true amateurism HAS given way to training subsidies, cash for winning medals, and sponsorship or endorsement opportunities, but the vast majority of Olympians won’t come close to signing with anyone – except maybe a coach to guide them through their next competition cycle.

Don’t let the bright lights of the shiny new buildings fool you, for every one Olympian who becomes a household name and guests on late night talk shows, hundreds more will return to their humble homes and a training regime fueled ONLY by an unrelenting passion for their sport of choice.

To the critics, the athletes themselves remind us it’s the human side of the chase that makes the chase. And it’s from the athletes we learn perhaps the most important ideal of the games—that life isn’t meant to be a spectator sport. Nope! It’s meant for participation, but that can mean sacrifice for the dedication and commitment it takes to play out passion.

At the top of the next hour somewhere in the world, an aspiring Olympian is answering their 5am alarm clock. Go get ‘em, Sport! I plan to watch for you in Rio de Janeiro, Pyeonghang, Tokyo…