As I watched the Athens Games, I had a different perspective on what sports and success is all about. Personally, I wish Paul Hamm, who received the Olympic Gold for men?s all-around gymnastics, would have offered his medal to his Korean competitor, who received an incorrect score. I so wanted Paul Hamm to have a press conference and state to the whole world:
I took the journey, shined while the lights were bright and represented the USA with integrity. Yes, I was awarded the Gold Medal on that priceless evening. Unfortunately, mistakes were made in the scoring, but I had nothing to do with that. All I could do was go for the Gold. Now, the Koreans, gymnastics federations, and fans worldwide want me to hand over the Gold Medal.
Well, please, tell me who to mail it to and where to send it, and I'll get it off immediately. I didn't train all these years to keep a Gold Medal in a glass box in my living room. I didn't train all these years for my family, friends, fans, or even the USA, even though it was an honor representing them. I trained all those years for the love of the sport and to maximize my God-given abilities. And, I feel like I did that.
Do I deserve the Gold? That's not for me to decide. But, today, there is something I have decided. Accomplishing dreams is not about medals. Accomplishing dreams is about having the courage to take a huge risk, facing your fears, and knowing there is a possibility of coming up short.
Accomplishing dreams is about competing with honor and integrity regardless of the outcome. Accomplishing dreams is about doing your best and letting God take care of the rest. In Athens, I accomplished my dream. God and I know that, and that's ALL that matters. I refuse to live for an audience of all. My treasure is found in living for an Audience of One. Thanks for your time.
Some of you may completely disagree with my opinion regarding Hamm?s medal, but think about the worldwide impact this offering could have made. A majority of countries see the USA as a medal hungry; a ?get the Gold at all costs? nation.
Hamm?s offering of the medal could have helped changed this perspective. Educators worldwide could be telling the story for years to come about a young American who was willing to give the ultimate prize in sports to his competitor because he realize there is something greater than the Gold. This gesture would have stoked the flame of Olympic integrity that has been dimmed by the doping, judging, and political controversies over the recent years.
Things need to change in sports. Things need to change in the way we worship winning. Things need to change in the way we all live our lives. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes daily. But, we must realize without faith and integrity no amount of Gold Medals, fame, or fortune will ever fulfill us.
What?s the biggest lesson I have learned since winning the Olympic Gold Medal? That?s an easy question to answer:
There is something greater. There is a Greater Gold. Search for it, and I promise you will find it.