The Winter Olympics are in full swing just up the road in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Like a lot of people, I have been checking in on them in the evenings and watching what I can.

There is one particular phenomenon that I have noticed over and over again.  I first noticed it in some of the skiing events where competitors clapped and cheered for one another.  What really caught my attention is when an athlete would celebrate a person who did better than they did and bumped them down in the standings.  In many cases, it was not just polite applause, but appeared to be a sincere and warm acknowledgement of their accomplishment and skill.

These Olympians strike me as Creators.  Even though they had just been “beat,” they did not respond as a Victim who had just been “persecuted” by their competitor.  They laud their fellow athletes as co-creators of the sport they both so passionately love.

This spirit exemplifies the vision and intention of another Creator, Pierre de Coubertin, considered the “father” of the modern Olympic Games.  Here are a few of his quotes:

  • “Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.”
  • “May joy and good fellowship reign, and in this manner, may the Olympic Torch pursue its way through ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of a humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and more pure.”
  • “For each individual, sport is a possible source for inner improvement.”

We can all learn from the examples of these athletes about how to both compete and co-create.