Open Letter to All Medal-less Olympians

Published on August 18th, 2016

By Carol Newman Cronin
Trust me, it will get better again soon. Right now, you are surrounded by the five rings of Olympic circus, where everyone you meet is a member of the same elite club. And you may be feeling like a second-class citizen, or worse still like a loser, because you don’t have anything shiny hanging around your neck and you weren’t standing on that damned podium.

But in a few days, you will leave the Olympic world and come back down to earth again. And almost instantly you’ll realize that, outside of that shiny five-ring bubble, your new status as an Olympian is incredible all by itself. More people get struck by lightning than get to do what you’ve just done. It’s special. You’re special.

Some of you will start training again right away for 2020. Some of you will take a break and then jump in again, deciding that the adrenaline rush is worth all the hard work and sacrifice, and maybe feeling that you and the Olympics have unfinished business. And many of you will decide, after reclaiming some perspective, that another four years of total devotion to your sport is too big a sacrifice: that instead you want to pursue a more stable career, or a steady relationship, or even just the daily pleasures of a less nomadic and less goal-driven life.

No matter what you decide to do next, being an Olympian will help you achieve your next dream too. Yup, it’s a great thing to have on your resumé. But besides the opportunities it can bring in sponsorship, or job offers, or just bragging rights at your favorite local hangout, competing at such a high level has already taught you more about yourself and what you need to do your best than you realize right now.

But don’t worry about your future just yet. The Olympic experience only comes around once every four years, so enjoy it, bask in it. – Read On.

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