I wish to take this moment to congratulate Aleksandr Lebedev, the Russian Federation Speed Skater who placed last place in the Men’s 1000m Speed Skating races in the Olympics. I don’t know him, never heard his name before, but with all of the competition out there I wanted to reach out to Aleksandr Lebedev and his family to congratulate him on his Olympic journey.
It’s all too easy for us to get carried away in the celebration of victories and medals, and to forget that the Olympics is about doing your best, though it leads you to the bottom slot in your event. All Olympians are deserving of praise for their hard work and commitment, not just those who take home gold, silver, or bronze.
You may not get the spotlight, Aleksandr (I’m assuming your friends call you Sasha?), but you have my respect and admiration for making to the Olympics in the first place.
I’m not even a fan of Speed Skating, but I took the time to look at the lists after I watched the victory of Shani Davis. I was amazed at how tiny the gap of time was which separated the Gold from the Silver, and I decided to look at the bottom of the full list to see what separated the Gold from Last place. You know what that was this time around?
I’m sure to the speed skating world that seems like a long time, but you’ve just spent more time reading this sentence than the spread of time which separates #38 from #1. To me, that just highlights a very important message that while only one person can hold the Gold, -all- of the Olympians are champions in their own right, and members of an elite group of athletes the world over.
Bravo, Aleksandr Lebedev. You may not feel like a winner, but trust me, you are.