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It's All About the Kids:a column by Dr. Janet McPeek


Olympic life lessons



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March 05, 2014 - The 2014 Winter Olympics are history now, but for 16 days people everywhere were talking about this major international event in Sochi, Russia.

There's a lot of excitement leading up to the event, and the athletes have trained for several years. There are valuable life lessons that children and teens can take away from the Olympic Winter Games.

Don't Give up in the Face of Defeat

U.S. figure skater Jeremy Abbott proved you should never give up.

He fell hard during the short program competition — crashing into the barriers surrounding the ice rink. After staying down for several seconds, Abbott got up and finished his routine.

That in itself was very impressive. Other skaters may have given up and left the rink, thinking there was no way they could win a medal. Not only did Abbott resume skating, but he went on to get a cheering ovation from the crowd and a high score from the judges after flawlessly performing some very difficult jumps.

Celebrate Diversity and Tolerance

The Winter Olympics remind us how wonderful it is to have a multitude of countries coming together for one spectacular sporting event. Athletes representing diverse ethnicities, religions and cultures lived together in the Olympic Village. It was important for the athletes to put aside any conflicts, embrace diversity, and practice acceptance during those two weeks.

Always Give Your Best

The Olympic Games are more than a competition. While it brings together the "best of the best" for an amazing display of athleticism, everyone doesn't go home with a medal. And, sometimes it is an extremely small difference in scoring or time that separates the first place winner from the second and third place contestants. It's all about the effort that has gone into preparing and participating in the games. That counts more than the results.

Afterwards, most of the athletes return home to their "normal" lives as students, parents, or employees. They may not have a medal, but they can certainly consider themselves among the best of the best.

Stay Motivated and Determined

The same skills that make the Olympic athletes good at their sport are what make them good at the other things that matter in life. Stamina, determination, and motivation are a few of these attributes.

You have to believe that skater Jeremy Abbott makes choices in his life that show his resolve and strong character. He could have left the rink after falling, but instead he decided to finish what he started.

When the Summer Olympics arrive in 2016, families should watch the competition together and look for the inspirational moments and lessons for their kids.

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