1. This year, we will remember short track speed skater Apollo Ohno earning his eighth Olympic medal, setting a new record for the United States for the Winter Olympics.
2. It is truly an American image when three out of the four U.S. relay speed skaters who won the bronze medal are Asians, which includes Ohno, J.R. Celski, and Simon Cho. This will inspire our young people to pick up more winter sports.
3. You probably disagreed when Ohno was disqualified in the 5,000-meter race. Notice that Ohno was not bitter. He moved forward, lived in the moment of being in the Olympics, and enjoyed his overall success.
4. At least one parent of Ohno (Japanese), Cho (Korean), and Celski (Filipino) are immigrants. For immigrant parents, raising U.S.-born kids is hard enough, but for them to raise extraordinary Olympians is definitely a fulfillment of the American Dream.
5. This is also a triumph in mentorship. Celski and Cho looked up to Ohno as their role model. When Celski and Cho were kids, they remembered Ohno receiving Olympic medals. The lesson for us is that we should mentor each other more to build strength.
6. Coaches without borders enhance excellence. Several Canadian and European coaches taught the Chinese athletes, among others, at the Olympics. This will raise the standards, hopes, and dreams of many disadvantaged athletes from disadvantaged nations, who usually don’t share the Olympic glory.
7. Athletes without borders provide freedom for a Japanese American youth to represent Georgia and Japan in the Olympics figure skating. Allison Reed, whose father is American and mother is Japanese, was partnered with Georgian skater Otar Japaridze. Reed’s brother and sister, Chris and Cathy, were a figure skating team competing for Japan. That’s wonderful.
8. I thought about the pressure on Yu-Na Kim’s shoulder before she skated. Her whole country, Korea, relied on her to beat Japan and other countries. She knew that if she lost, she would be abandoned forever in her home country. Yet, you could not detect any signs of stress or tension on her face during her performance. She carried on her shoulders 35 years of grief, pain, and hatred toward Japan.
9. Images of perfection, artistry, and beauty were expressed in Yu-Na Kim’s figure skating championship performance.
10. U.S. figure skater Mirai Nagasu had to skate right after Kim’s record-breaking score. Imagine the emotions and challenges she faced — knowing that there would be no chance for her to win. Yet, she was not discouraged, and performed her best ever. She was in fourth place. ♦