Inspired to “Find Your Greatness”

Nathan Sorrell, Nike Jogger

Edge-of-the-seat thrills are what I have experienced watching the 2012 London Olympic Games. I have cringed and covered my eyes like many of the parents who couldn’t bear to watch their children compete and fall short yet would not be anywhere else but near their sides. I have been misty-eyed with sadness and joy along with each athlete as he or she stumbled or excelled. In every area of the Games stories of hope, strength and inspiration abounded.

Watching the Games, I found one of the greatest inspirations in an everyday person in a television commercial. Yes, a television commercial. The 2012 London Olympic Games television coverage is offering some of the best commercials ever. They are memorable and moving.

This one, I have talked about and I will replay it like a great motivational speech. Nike did something special when it cast 12-year-old Nathan Sorrell in its “Find Your Greatness” advertisement. For the 2012 London Olympic Games coverage Nike produced a campaign showing ordinary people from towns named “London” around the world seeking fitness.

Nathan, from London, Ohio, T-shirt soaked with perspiration, jogs along a lonely stretch of road. There are no crowds to cheer him on — just determination. He might be 5-foot-three-inches tall, weigh 200 pounds and for now, a short distance jogger, but to me, he qualifies for the gold.

PS I’m going to kick things up a step and buy a pair of Nike’s for my roadwork — on the treadmill.

A run for life leads to race for gold

Lopez Lomong: World Vision

Running for his life, three days and nights, going without water for days, Lopez Lomong sought freedom from prison and its inevitable consequence of becoming a child soldier.

He was only six when soldiers abducted him and other children from an outdoor church service, threw them into backs of trucks and drove to a prison camp where the children would be trained as soldiers.

In, Cornelia Becker Seigneur recounted the story of Lomong’s escape with three older boys as detailed in his recently released autobiography, Running for My Life.

They were three older boys, 14 or 15, who knew my family from our village, and they said to me, ‘You’re going to see your mother.’

On a moonless night the four youths slipped out of the room, crawled on their bellies, and slid through a hole in a fence.

The savannas are very tough. We ran for three days — my legs and feet were bleeding. When I wanted to stop, my angels carried me.

Lomong didn’t end up in his home village to see his mother, but instead the four boys hobbled into the United Nations–sponsored Kakuma refugee camp near Nairobi, Kenya, where Lomong remained for 10 years. His three friends vanished after two weeks.

I have been back and keep asking for them. They brought me from harsh wilderness to the Promised Land, then disappeared like angels, Lomong told “Christianity Today.” They are my inspiration for what I am doing now. God was with them to help me.”

Lomong now runs for the United States in track and field. Listen to his amazing story and watch him in the 5,000 meter-run, August 8, during the 2012 London Olympics.

By the way, Lopez is a nickname. His parents named him Lopepe, which in their native language means “fast.”

Raising an Olympian

The Women’s Team USA prepares for the final to begin. During introductions before the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Alexandra Raisman of the United States stands with her teammates.

Most parents, particularly moms, know the hours it takes to shuttle children back and forth to practice a sport. On ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, Sawyer cited a report that calculated the hours parents of future champions spent. To raise a champion, it seems, parents spend 20,000 hours going back and forth to practice.

I wonder, how many hours do parents also spend waiting and watching their children practice and play? What about the hours spent wondering (and not showing anxiety) if those children will make the team?

Learning the stories of many of the athletes representing their countries in the London 2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad made me realize that parents and athletes work hard together. They share a dream. To them, all the sacrifices are worth it.

Listen to Natalie Hawkins, mother of Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas, share her story.