I love the Olympics, especially the winter Olympics. When the Olympics are on television, do not bother me. The only thing better than watching greatness, is seeking to be great. Being a winter sports enthusiast, it’s amazing to immerse myself in two weeks watching the best of the best compete. To be blown away by the performance of athletes sum of dedication, talent, and hard work. Today, I found out more of those U.S. Olympic athletes come from Colorado than any other state. Not surprising, when I consider how much winter recreation is around here.
Tonight, a young 17-year old named Red Gerard, from Silverthorne, Colorado became the first American to win an Olympic medal. Photos of him with his family flashed across the screen and I marveled at his baby face. But young, innocent faces populate the sports of skiing and snowboarding.
Just look at Mikaela Shiffrin, all of 22 years old. She started skiing at the tender age of 3 years old. Now, a mere 19 years later, she’s already won one Olympic gold medal and countless World Cup races. She’s expected to win more gold medals this Olympics. Her work ethic and commitment to training belie someone who is barely old enough to legally drink. I became particularly amazed watching a clip where she wrote B.F.T.T.B. on a helmet for a young girl. Apparently, it’s her personal mantra – “Be Faster Than The Boys.”
All of this had me wondering the other day, as I taught a group of 5 and 6 year olds the fine art of parallel skiing. As a kids ski instructor, I encounter some incredibly talented kids on a regular basis. Here in Colorado, parents who are avid ski enthusiasts get their kids sliding on the snow before they’ve even gone to kindergarten. I’ve taught a 3 year old who was already zipping down intermediate trails with the greatest of ease. I’ve had classes of 4 and 5 year olds who want nothing more than to get “big air” and “ski the trees.”
I’ve been asked several times, “Wouldn’t you rather teach adults?” After several years of teaching kids, the answer is an unequivocal “No!”. Kids are happy-go-lucky, ready for adventure, game for anything. In a single word, kids are fearless. Skiing with kids brings out the kid that is still inside of me, allows me to be silly, goofy and yes, fearless.
So as I watch the Winter Olympics, with teenagers flying through the air, or skiing down the course at lightning fast speeds, I wonder. Could it be that one of my young students might be a future Olympian? That in some small way, I am fueling their passion and enthusiasm, cultivating their talent in the tiniest of ways, so that they might pursue this as a lifelong quest for greatness?
I’d like to think so.