One most cherished moment from Beijing Olympics 2008 is of Misty May-Treanor sprinkling her mother's ashes on the winning court. The gold winner went running to her dad, hugged him and took from him a little plastic film container with her mother's ashes in it. Misty joyously spread them on the sand of Chaoyang Park beach volleyball ground. Misty said that she wanted her mother to be with her while she made history.
Misty's mother did not live long enough to see Misty shine. She died in 2002 after battling with cancer. Misty believed that her mother would have wanted to be with her in this proud moment. And this is how Misty honored her mother for being an inspiration to her. An honor any parent would ask for!
Misty May quoted after her Olympic victory:
"A lot of people had doubts. I tried to tell people I never had doubts."
Physically and mentally challenged people are marginalized in most countries around the world. It's not mentioned in books or talked about in public. But there does exist an unwritten law that challenged people can not achieve much in their life. Heba Said Ahmed proved this wrong. She is power lifting gold medalist of Beijing Paralympics Games 2008. She lifted 341 pound to win the most craved medal. Not to miss the world record she broke in her 181-pound weight category.
Ahmed now lauded as Egyptian Hercules, has a disturbing past. Ahmed was stuck with polio. The first shock of her life came when her first-grade teacher told her, 'if you can not stand, you do not belong here.' Due to the illness, it was impossible for her to go to her classroom which was on fifth story of the school building. Ahmed's father kept his courage and wounded her to the class all through her primary schooling. And it's the inner strength of her own and her family that took her past all obstacles that life thread on her way.
Heba Said Ahmed quoted soon after the Paralympics triumph:
"I want to prove to society that I am better than what they think of me … they think a handicapped person should just stay in bed."
There's nothing more inspiring than watch Lance Armstrong in his yellow jersey, streaking across the countryside on a bike. His determination needs no introduction. Lance was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 and was told that there is only 10% chance of him surviving. And Lance made most out of that 10% chance. Today, he's not just a cancer survivor, he's an an example. His organization LiveStrong gives people around the globe hope and courage.
Lance Armstrong quoted after his fight with cancer:
"So if there is a purpose to the suffering that is cancer, I think it must be this: it's meant to improve us."
A playground is often filled with such twinkling stories. That's why sports are said to be an ocean for inspiration. Obstacles are overcome, difficulties are overthrown, goals are set high, and histories are made. It's the higher pursuits of human life that are achieved. There's never enough that we can learn from that. It's good to follow a sport. Better still, to follow its spirit.
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