It’s not a secret that I love the Olympics. I’m completely compelled by elite athletics, and the Olympics is the greatest world stage of all. I love the incumbent champions, and the underdogs. I love the powerhouse nations and the wee ones alike that manage to churn out world class athletes. And, of course, I love the Olympians’ stories. I think that the Olympics are the best reality tv out there.
It was just a matter of time until the drama of London 2012 caught up with me. It happened on Day 5 at the women’s artistic gymnastics team final. “Women” is something of a misnomer here as many of the athletes are a mere 16 or 17 years old. The skill of these athletes is jaw-droppingly amazing, but I was blown away by the composure of the “Fab Five,” a.k.a. Team USA. The confidence possessed by this group of young women was simply astonishing.
What threw me over the edge was a small moment caught on camera between gymnasts Aly Raisman, 18, and Gabby Douglas, 16. After Douglas’s adrenaline was starting to get the better of her, team leader Raisman took her aside for a chat. She looked Douglas in the eyes and said, “You can do this.”
Douglas looked at her squarely back and calmly replied, “Yes, I can.”
Such incredible confidence! I was overwhelmed. The tears started to run and then Douglas proceeded to knock out another incredible routine. Team USA didn't just win gold, they claimed it.
What an inspiration to girls everywhere. Forget that—what an inspiration to women everywhere! Think about what we might accomplish if we believed, “Yes, I can.” When we’re in doubt: “Yes, I can.” When the pressure it getting to us: “Yes, I can.”
And for me, with my own athletic goals this year, maybe—just maybe—I can take a page from Team USA’s book and tell myself, “Yes, I can.”