By Beth Cox
Over the past year, the nation has faced many challenges. We continue to struggle with many areas of division and uncertainty that will, in all probability be with us for years to come. However, it is possible to be momentarily unified and embrace a time where we can see the greatness of America’s athletes through the Olympics being held in Tokyo, Japan.
The purpose of the Olympics Games is to bring together the world’s greatest athletes to compete on an international stage, but its overall goal is to “cultivate human beings, through sport and contribute to world peace.”
Baron Pierre de Coubertin brought back the Olympics after a 1500-year absence. Coubertin stated the Olympic spirit is the “elevation of mind and soul, embracing friendships, and contributes to the betterment of the world.” It is a far reach to think sporting events can do what is defined by Coubertin. In 1996, however, a young girl named Kerri Scrugg captivated nations across the globe as she tried for her second vault with a severe ankle injury.
Assumedly people worldwide were glued to the television watching with great anticipation at the possibility of the United States getting the gold by this injured gymnast. Scrugg ran to the vault to make her second jump and landed on one foot, she sealed the gold for America, and undoubtedly, people around the world celebrated the courage and dedication of this young athlete.
Why are the Olympics important to our small county? If you are going to dream, dream big, baby, it could all be yours. Just down the road outside of Knoxville, Wes Kitts was a standout athlete in football and soccer at Halls High School. He is now on the world’s stage, competing in the weightlifting competition.
Former Lady Vols swimmer Erika Brown left college and headed straight for the Olympics. The University of Tennessee swimmer has already won silver in 4×100 meter and bronze in the 100-meter freestyle relay.The Olympics is a platform to bring in the greatest of athletes, but many stories will be told of the discipline, dedication, and sacrifice of all athletes across the world with that greatness.
Johnson County is, of course, part of that world, and one day there will be a Longhorn athlete who has worked hard and dreamed big to be a part of the international sports stage.