I watched an Olympic sport this morning that I didn’t understand: Freestyle wrestling. The broadcast had suckered me in. They’d done one of those big feature stories on an athlete, Adeline Gray, who wrestles in the 76 kg category, and I was inspired by her story. She’d won five world championships, but at the last Olympics in Rio, she’d been injured and didn’t medal. She fought her way back, and today, had a chance to win gold.
Instead, she came up short — a second-place finish, and a silver medal.
But in the post-match interview, you wouldn’t have known that she was disappointed. She spoke of the challenges she’d faced on the road back. She talked about how excited she was to finally win a medal. She spoke directly to young athletes, and encouraged them to chase their dreams — that they could go back to school for a Master’s degree, or start a family, or win an Olympic medal. That they could have it all, if they wanted.
I’m sure Adeline Gray wanted more. I’m sure she’ll be disappointed that she didn’t win gold. But to see her celebrating afterwards, even after a tough defeat, was inspiring.
She’s not the Olympic champion, but she’s an Olympic champion. Congrats, Adeline. Go celebrate. You’ve earned it.
That’s a photo of Gray showing off her medal to family via video call after the match.