Archived Story

Observations on the Olympic spirit

Published 8:58pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

By Rep. Randy Forbes

There’s something magical about the Olympics. Perhaps it is the obvious: the weaving together of a team of America’s best. Hundreds of faces, hundreds of stories, thousands of miles away, standing united under the Stars and Stripes. They are us. And it’s magical.

But maybe it’s more than that, too. Perhaps part of it is that the Olympics are one of the few places we can readily point to where competition is still applauded and hard work is still rewarded. It’s a place where being truly exceptional is not hidden and not targeted for blame but showcased and celebrated.

The playing field is even. The winners and losers have not been predetermined. And when they are bestowed, the medals are few, and there is no doubt the merit has been earned. There’s no mediocrity. No room for entitlement. No do-overs or bailouts.

Perhaps we long for a little more of such a spirit in our own lives and our own government. The Olympics refresh in us what we know deep down: that competition is necessary; that esteem — like anything valuable — derives its worth from its sincerity; and that out of honest work — and the resulting discomfort — comes the most genuine of success. This is our nation’s key to competitiveness. And it is an unseverable part of what it means to be an American.

So, whether on the competition fields of London, in the halls of Congress, or in our neighborhoods at home: Go Team U.S.A.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes represents the 4th District of Virginia. He can be reached at



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