No matter what the Olympic sport, all competitors are basically competing against two things: Gravity and resistance.
In swimming, the olympian fights the resistance of the water and current. In gymnastics and weightlifting, the olympians competes against gravity. The archer fights both as does the volleyball player.
There are people who compete each day against gravity and resistance. They receive no metals nor do they stand on the platform while the national anthem is played. Unlike Michael Phelps, they never get to retire from the competition. They are Silent Olympians.
The metal in the competition against gravity goes to the man or woman who struggles against addiction. They go on each day and try not to fall down. It is often a struggle for them to get on their feet in the first place. The battle is against them. They rise and fall. So often the crowd will not cheer or even notice when they stand but the crowd will thunder abuse when they fall. Yet, they fight on.
The metal in the competition against resistance goes to the person who fights the resistance of others. So often this is a young person. They are in school and there is resistance from the “normal” crowd because they do not fit the mold of what is normal. They might be too much of a Bible-believing Christian, their body shape might be different, they might be gay or wear a hajib. In whatever way they are different, the noise from the crowd is never that of cheers. They win their metals each day because they know to conform is to win the acceptance of other. But in winning that acceptance, they will lose themselves.
The Silent Olympians struggle on because defeat is way too costly.
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