Life Lessons from the Olympics

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By Gloria Mwaniga

Looking up the origin of the Olympics a while back, it amazed me to find out that the earliest recorded Olympic competition, which occurred in 776 B.C. was won by a cook named Coroebus.
A cook? I wondered to myself.

As I went ahead looking at the Olympics history, I found a number of life lessons that we should keep in mind even as we traverse this life journey.

1. It’s never written in stone.

In the past, only freeborn men and boys could take part in the Olympic Games. Women were forbidden, on penalty of death, even to see the Games.
In 396 B.C however, a woman from Rhodes successfully defied the death penalty. When her husband died, she continued the training of their son, a boxer. She attended the games disguised as a man and was not recognized until she shouted with joy over her son’s victory. Her life was spared because of the special circumstances and the fact that her father and brothers had been Olympians.
In life, no matter what the rules are, always keep it mind that it is not written in stone. Give yourself credit by believing your creativity is good enough to produce something new.

2.The greatest of all

The greatest athlete of the ancient Games was Milo of Croton, a wrestler who lived in the 500’s B.C. He won the wrestling crown six times, and he was said to be so powerful that he could carry a full-grown bull on his shoulders.
Next time you doubt your strength as a human, just think. If a human could carry a grown up live bull on his shoulders, what can’t we humans, in our most persistent state, do?

3.Looking for inspiration

The ancient Olympic Games also honored, and inspired, artists.
The poet Pindar wrote many odes in praise of the Games’ winners. The Olympic buildings were prime examples of the beauty of Greek architecture, and the remains of Zeus’ great statue bear the signature of the famous Athenian sculptor and architect Phidias. Like the athletic champions, artistic champions were awarded olive wreaths and great acclaim.
Thought you as an ‘artist’ and have nothing to do with ‘outdoor sporty stuff? Think again. Inspiration can be triggered anywhere at any time. Just be keep enough to identify it.

4.Lean back to enjoy life.

Sparta was famous for the strict military training of its citizens. But it would wait until the games were over before sending fighters into battle. Other cities followed this example and hence they enjoyed peaceful periods of fun and friendship. Athletic competitions became so important to the Greeks that the Olympic festivals were a peaceful influence on the warlike city-states.
Even as we work hard and fight to keep up with the current Times and busy schedules, we should always know when to take a rest and just lean back to enjoy life.

5.Life’s not always a competition.

The most important thing in the Olympic games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

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