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Striving with both Grit and Grace

Striving with both Grit and Grace Blog Post

Since their inception in Ancient times, the Olympics have included a series of athletic activities where athletes from different regions competed.

Fast-forward centuries to today, and we are witnessing athletes competing for a coveted medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. These people are at the top of their game, having spent years fine-tuning their skill and athleticism. Watching them leaves me inspired to strive for that which is just beyond my reach.

However, the Games are not only about receiving a medal; they are about so much more than that. They are underpinned by three core values: Excellence, Respect and Friendship.

Excellence: Excellence means doing the best we can, on the field of play or in our professional life. The important thing is not winning, but taking part, making progress and enjoying the healthy combination of body, will and mind. 

After one of our swimmers placed fourth in a final, I heard a media clip from Moss Burmester who said to the athlete, “You’ve just got to take this one on the chin and try to move on”. Yes, it may be easier said than done, but when we know that we have given our best, we are able to bow our head to the lofty mountain and learn from the experience.

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tuohū koe me he maunga teitei.
Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain. 

Learning for ourselves and our tamariki to show both Grit and Grace, is, (I believe), vital to our balanced wellbeing.

Respect: This includes respect for yourself and your body, for other people, for rules and regulations, for sport and for the environment. Preserve Human Dignity – Demonstrate Respect.

He aroha whakatō, he aroha puta mai
If kindness is sown, then kindness you shall receive.

Having travelled solo through many countries, I know that when I go with aroha in my heart, I receive the most incredible manaakitanga.

When backpacking through Vietnam in my forties, I would join the local people early in the morning to exercise on the beach. Seeking permission, I would slot behind them and do my best to follow their actions. One morning on my return to my lodgings, a coffee-seller called me over and mentioned he had seen me exercising with his people. He asked me to join him for a coffee, which I did. About one hour later, I went back to my accommodation, after having talked with him about life, family, our human connectedness and desires for our future. Notice the opportunities to connect; they are everywhere.

Friendship: Friendship is at the heart of the Olympic Movement. It encourages us to see sport as an instrument for mutual understanding between individuals, and between people all over the world.

Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.
My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective.

In the second heat of the women’s 5,000 meters at the 2016 Olympics, Abbey D’Agostino of the United States reminded us of what the Games are all about.

After Nikki Hamblin tripped, D’Agostino stumbled and fell over the New Zealander, injuring her knee.

But instead of immediately attempting to catch the pack of runners, the American helped the visibly rattled Hamblin to her feet.

“Get up, get up! We have to finish!” D’Agostino told her. “This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.'”

The two shaken runners were able to finish the heat, although well behind the rest of the field. D’Agostino has been lauded for her inspiring actions.

At a core level, we are all human, and all connected.

And so this week, I invite you to consider for yourself how the values of the Olympics feature in your world and work. 

Go well. 

Ngā mihi nui

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  1. Malo e lelei Mary-anne,
    Thank you for sharing and as a Tongan Language Teacher my class started the Olympic News with the Opening ceremony with our Tongan flag bearers and learning about their Tongan costumes so as the NZ team and daily they share news from the Olympics. The 3 values in your post are exactly the 3 values we have at our school which kicks off Term 3 as a reminder from the Olympic values.Thank you for sharing so glad to read likeminded posts like yours. All the best for Term 3.

    1. Malo e lele my beautiful friend.

      So lovely to hear from you, and know you are continuing to share your goodness.

      Thank you for your response.

      Keep being your amazing YOU.


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