The Winter Olympics are over, but I am still thinking about the Games.
For two weeks, the coverage on television and in the newspapers naturally focused on the medal winners. Super snowboarders Shaun White and Chloe Kim, the wonderful United States women’s hockey team and the athletes from Norway who took home 39 medals from the 2018 Games.
With all the attention given to the winners, it’s easy for kids to think the Winter Olympics is a tale of unending triumph. A story of medals, smiles and national anthems playing.
But when you think about the Winter Olympics, it isn’t all about winning. Most of the Olympic athletes never stand on a podium. They have to be satisfied with being part of an amazing worldwide event.
There is something, however, that all of the athletes have in common. All the events in the Winter Olympics happen on snow or ice. As any kid knows, that stuff can be very slippery.
So that means every athlete in the Winter Olympics has had the experience of falling (or crashing) and having to get back up and try again. Even the fabulous 15-year-old figure skater Alina Zagitova has landed hard on the unforgiving ice.
That ability to pick yourself up after you have fallen or failed, dust yourself off and try again is called resilience. Some people call it grit. Whatever it is called, it’s important in sports and in life.
So how can you become more resilient? A couple of things might help.
First, be realistic. In team sports, there is always a winner and a loser. In individual sports there are a lot more losers than winners. No matter how hard an athlete tries, no one wins every time. It’s easier to bounce back if you expect disappointments.
Think about Lindsey Vonn. She is probably the best female skier ever. But Vonn won only three Olympic medals — one gold and two bronze — in 14 events during four Winter Olympics. (She missed the 2014 Games with an injury.) So Vonn has had to deal with lots of falls and failures. Still, she has kept trying.
Next, concentrate on the things you can control, and don’t worry about things you can’t. Athletes cannot always control the outcome of a game or event. A skier may post a terrific time only to have another athlete beat it by a split second.
But everyone can control the effort they put into preparing for and playing their sport. If you get into the habit of trying your best, it’s easier to accept the outcome, whatever it is.
The Winter Olympics are over, but there is still a lot to learn from the Games. If you think about it.
Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 23 sports books for kids. His latest book, “Lucky Enough,” has just been published.