My first triathlon was in 1986 and it was sprint distance event. When I entered that race, I had no clue how the sport of triathlon would influence my life.
As I continued with my triathlon and multisport adventures, I came to realize I was part of a world-wide family of athletes that love the sport too. I can recall my first experience with a world championship event and how proud I felt to race on a team that represented the United States of America.
When I watched the great ITU video on the ITU main page that recapped the weekend of racing in Hamburg, I see athletes from every country. It could be my imagination, but I believe I see many, many athletes proud to race for their countries and proud to be in the sport.
I think everyone should try to participate in, or attend as a spectator, a World Championship for the sport(s) they love at least once in their life. It's tough to describe the experience; you just have to do it.
I feel the same way about the Olympics. The level of athlete that competes at the Olympic Games is the best of the best. It is worth traveling to see some part of the games at least once.
I will admit that I have had a long-time addiction to the Olympic Games, summer and winter. I've watched the Games for as long as I can remember.
My first addiction to the Olympics was through winter sports, beginning with skiing. Colorado, as you might imagine, produces several winter Olympic athletes each four years.
I can recall the Olympics being in the media spotlight when I was in grade school. Even at a young age, for me there was something about the spirit of the Olympic Games that was attractive. It was intriguing, yes, romantic.
The goal of the Olympic movement, as documented in the Olympic Charter by Pierre de Coubertin:
"The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."
Pierre de Coubertin was also responsible for the Olympic Creed. His inspiration for the creed was a speech given by Bishop Ethelbert Talbot at a service for Olympic champions during the 1908 Olympic Games. The Olympic Creed reads:
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
I like it.
Are there issues and problems with the Olympic Games, international and national organizations? Of course.
But issues and problems do not mean we should give up.
Influence sport where and when you can.