I just finished watching the women’s 1500M final race that aired on tonight’s Olympic coverage. Just as the last lap of the race started, one of the American runners (Morgan Uceny) tripped and fell down. She then proceeded to kneel on the track while bawling and punching the track. While it was heartbreaking to watch her dreams be crushed, I couldn’t help but be extremely disappointed and appalled at her behavior. Yes her dream of medaling was over and that can be devastating to many people, but instead of having a temper tantrum on the track, it would have shown good sportsmanship and maturity if she had instead gotten up and attempted to even finish her race. She completely missed out on an opportunity to inspire people. A dead last finish is so much better than a did not finish. What a shame and a waste. The good as I see it, is that my 3 year old was watching it with me and I was able to tell him that if he ever falls down while competing, that it’s important for him to get up and finish.
I’ve been a dead last finisher before. I ran cross country in 7th grade and in my first meet I finished dead last. In fact the next person ahead of me finished several minutes ahead of me. It was tremendously embarrassing to me personally, however, at the end of the year my teammates voted me team captain, basically because they said I gave it my all and that was inspiring. Sometimes the most inspiring performances are not those by the winners, but by those who won’t give up.