The official announcement went up this week about the track team for London. No surprises for me. Its official and the work continues. But now I can talk about it. Now I can say I am going. It will be my second games and in alot of ways it will be a first. First time as a real contender. First time as a leader of a younger team. First time in this event. So far it all feels familiar though. It’s a normal thing this Olympics. It is something that can be done by normal people. I come from the most normal and humble of backgrounds. I fly in the face of the statistics and talent pools. I am a November baby, I was small growing up and I am “big” for a cyclist. Normal is what you make of it. Nothing needs to be normal and I would probably strike that word from the English language given a chance. All it does is act as a shield. It is an excuse in 2 syllables. Exceptional, unique and extraordinary get buried under a need to be normal. Every person starts of life full of these other qualities until normal is piled up around them.
This comes to my mind because I have my own bundle of extraordinary on the way. I have been mulling over in my head how I am going to fight back the normal so that my baby can grow up with the same chances to do the kinds of things I have been able to do. For years my sister and I have made fun of my dad for being abnormal. As I think of it now it might be why I have been able to fend off the doldrums of the normal from what seems like the most humble beginnings.
This is also what I want the young fans to take from my story. It might be a little cliche but I think we are far to easily convinced that things should be left to others. The Olympics is the greatest celebration of what everyone is capable of if people are willing to ignore the instruction to be average. Granted there are some truly exceptional people at the games…but the vast majority, I am talking 99.99% of the athletes there are not out of the ordinary. They are certainly far from “normal” but that is by choice. As I move closer to the games I find this thought comforting. I am only really up against others who started life in the same extraordinary way as the rest of us. Naked, screaming and wondering what the heck was going on. It is much easier to believe in what you are capable of relative to others when that i the perspective.
The Games is one of the greatest celebrations of the potential of the human condition. The condition that given the chance and a strong unwavering constitution we can all be fantastically abnormal. Extraordinary is the natural state of being. In sport, competition, the Olympics and the pursuit of these endeavors is where the richness of the experience is. It is liberating to do something out of the ordinary and it is exhilarating to see others do the same. Its a reminder of the purity of talent that we all hold. At the Games this is all around you and that is what I am excited for and to be a part of. All the normal people who have come full circle to be as abnormal and extraordinary as the day they where born.