My Favorite Olympic Stories that Have Nothing to Do With Gold Medals

by - February 17, 2018

I love the olympics. 

Let me restate that so you understand: 


From 6-10pm every night (that I'm not working), you can find me camped out in front of the TV. There is nothing like watching people from all over the world come together and compete in physical and artistic pursuits that they have dedicated their lives to. These people train for years, sometimes decades to represent their countries. As someone who has dedicated a decade and a half to dance, I look to these people for inspiration and motivation. Years of hard work do pay off!

However, while I enjoyed watching Shawn White’s gold medal snowboarding performance and Nathan Chen’s come back in the free skate, I found these stories to be the most inspiring: 

Pita Taufatofua from Tonga: You probably know him as the shirtless Tongan from the opening ceremonies, but his back story is even more impressive than his muscles. Although his country rarely sees snow, he decided to take up cross-country skiing, one of the hardest winter Olympic sports. He had no shot at winning a medal in cross-country skiing (or in tae kwon do in the summer Olympics in 2016), but competed anyway to inspire the younger generations in Tonga to shoot for the Olympics. Although he managed to finish 114th out of the 116 that completed the race, he stuck around to cheer on those behind him. Watch it here. Read more here and here

Simen Hegstad Krueger from Norway: Okay, so this guy did win a gold medal, but he fell at the start of the 30 km skiathlon and broke one of his ski poles. Gradually he worked his way back to front. Talk about determination. Watch it here

Adam Rippon from USA: This guy amazes me. At age 28, PyeongChang is his first Olympics. After years of training and not quite qualifying, he stuck with his dream and finally made it on the US Olympic Figure Skating Team. Adam might not be pulling out quads like Nathan Chen, but he performs his heart out and delivers solid technique. He helped the US get bronze in the team event, but won’t be receiving any medals himself. Talk about persistence! On behalf of all us ordinary folk, I thank him for inspiring us to pursue our dreams, even if it takes longer than we want. He is a hoot on camera, so here’s a bunch of videos on NBC’s Olympic page

Who inspires you in this year’s Olympics? 

Stay amiable!

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