Every four years, the stars align over one city in what is widely considered the culmination of all athletic competition. This year, the XXX Games of the Olympiad took place in London, a city well- known for its tangible impact onhistory and modern culture. Unlike most other sporting events, Olympians get only one chance every four years to achieve their dream of a gold medal. This creates enormous pressure for the athletes who are expected to win, and can generate disappointment for those who have not succeeded to their potential.
The thrill of victory is the only redemption for those who have tasted defeat in the past. One such athlete is University of Southern California graduate Allyson Felix. Felix was favored in the Track and Field 200-meter race at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics but came up short in both.
“I had success with the relay (in past Olympics), but not as much success as I would have liked to have had individually,” Felix said in an interview with UInterview. “It’s been driving me the last four years, and even longer than that. It’s super motivating, and I just can’t wait to have another opportunity.”
In 2012, Felix was not denied, as that motivation carried her to her first individual gold in Olympic competition.
Felix’s highly touted team- mate, Lolo Jones, did not enjoy the same success. Jones had established herself as an American favorite due to her personality and past success at the U.S. Championships.
Jones failed to win in the 110m hurdle final, and missed the podium by 1/10 of a second. In an interview on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” Jones said, “Deep inside I am hurting, but I will be back in Rio (de Janeiro).”
In the pool, 17-year-old U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin was able to defy expectations and win four gold medals along with a bronze. Franklin is best known for her smile outside the pool and her ferocity inside it, making her one of the youngest competitors to have such success.
Whether athletes expec- tations were met in the London competition or have been prolonged until Rio, the Olympics prove to be consistent by providing the opportunity for all competitors to shine when the lights are the brightest.
It will be another four years of reflection, motivation and most of all, opportunity, until the 2016 summer Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.