Friday, 26 February 2010


One of the things that's taken up a lot of my time over the last fortnight is watching the Winter Olympics. I love watching the Olympics, both summer and winter, but there's something particularly mad about the winter ones - the insane sports that people do, the insane risks that they take, and the sheer physical courage that they have.

But the story of this games surely has to be the story of Petra Majdic. Entering the cross-country sprint as a favourite, she slipped off the track during the warm-up and fell several feet into a ravine.

Battered and bruised, she then completed a qualifying round, a quarter-final, a semi-final and a final. Each time, she collapsed in agony as soon as she passed the finish line and had to be helped from the course. Each time, she plucked up the courage to do it again, and at the end of the final she was completely done in.

Despite all this, she won a bronze medal, and she was taken to the medal ceremony in a wheelchair and had to be helped onto the podium.

X-rays after the medal ceremony showed that she had four broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and she spent the next few days in hospital.

I think all the winter Olympians are a little bit mad to do the sports they're doing, but their bravery and tenacity can only be admired. And none more so than Petra Majdic, who won a bronze medal with - let me say that again - four broken ribs and a collapsed lung, against some of the best cross country skiers in the world.

She shows what the human spirit can do, how the mind can overcome the body if you want something badly enough, and what true physical bravery and mental tenacity means.

And it's because of stories like this that I love to watch the Olympics - it's not just about athletes at the peak of their abilities, it's not just about people who work hard and are good at their job - it's about so much more, and it has lessons for all of us about keeping your eye on the goal and never giving up as long as there's hope.


  1. I agree, DH and I absolutely love watching the Olympics. I am sad that they're almost over.

  2. We have been horrible about watching the Olympics. Partly because PB is back in school this session so there isn't much tv watching going on at all.

    But the story is certainly inspirational. In the IF world, she'd be the woman who did 5 bazillion IVF's, suffered from RPL, and kept going until she got the prize. I wholeheartedly admire those women. And I realize that I am not one of them. Not sure if that's good or bad, but my tenacity is great, but limited. Hopefully most of us won't have to go to such great lengths to walk away with our dream in our hands.