During the 2014 Olympics there have been some amazing stories. Here are some of my favorites:
Evgeny Plushenko, Russian men's figure skater, won gold in the team event. He backed out of the individual event due to injury, he has had two spinal surgeries over the last two years. There is no point to go on if you might be permanently injured as a result of competing. With the Olympics in his home country and such an intense focus put on winning medals in the figure skating events, he was brave to walk away, despite what others thought of him.
Heidi Kloser, American mogul skier, who was hurt in a practice run before the Olympics started and went to the opening ceremony on crutches. Yes, Heidi you are an Olympian.
Alex Bilodeau, Canadian Mogul Skier, won his second gold medal. What is even more special is that he got to share it with his brother, Frederic, who has Cerebral Palsy. This one hits close to home and reminds me of my brother Bryan. One of the most memorable moments for me.
Gus Kenworthy, American slopestyle skier, shined a spotlight on the stray dog problem in Sochi. He is bringing a mom and her pups home to the US, along with a few other US athletes trying to adopt dogs. I love when someone can use their celebrity status to raise awareness for a good cause. I know in the US there are millions of cats and dogs in shelters. This might seem strange to bring dogs from other countries to the US, but this may lead to more people adopting pets here and all over the world. Many countries in the world do not fix their pets so the population continues to grow until there are strays everywhere. Hopefully people will start to get their pets sprayed or neutered.
Anton Gafarov, Russian cross-country skier, who continued to ski on one ski after two falls and the Canadian coach, Justin Wadsworth, who came to Anton's rescue and helped him with a new ski. See the post Victory Beyond the Podium, for more details.
Adelina Sotnikova, Russian figure skater, who was over shadowed by fellow Russian skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya, when she helped Russia win the gold medal for the team event. Adelina went on to win the gold medal for figure skating in the individual event. Having the spotlight off of you and being the underdog can really motivate you.
The Jamaican bobsled team, so great to see them again at the Olympics. They had to wait on their gear and luggage since it arrived late. Even though they came in last, they did not give up. Such an inspiring story to see that despite the odds, they pursued their dream.
Donations came in from around the world to help out some of the athletes. The Jamaican bobsled team got donations and American speedskater, Emily Scott, who was on food stamps due to her monthly paycheck from US Speedskating that was cut by more than half got help as well. Emily and her dad were able to be at the Olympics due to complete strangers. It takes courage to reach out and ask for help to make your dream come true.
Viktor Ahn, Russian speedskater, moved to Russia to skate due to problems back home in South Korea. Viktor won four medals for Russia. I think South Korea regretted letting him go.
Dario Cologna, Swiss cross-country skier, won a gold metal. In true sportsmanship fashion, he waited around to congratulate last place finisher, Roberto Carcelen of Peru. Roberto was competing with a broken rib and came in eleven minutes after everyone else.
Vanessa Vanakorn (Mae), Slalom skier from Thailand, she was happy to have finished the course, despite being in last place. For some competing and finishing the race is more than enough.