Monday, May 12, 2014

Olympic moment: Peter Vidmar

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Peter Vidmar years ago- his brother married one of my former missionary companions.

I later heard him speak at a nearby University. This was after he won his gymnastics gold medals during the 1984 Olympics.

Peter related the story of his team and him vying for the team gold. He was the last to perform for the United States men's team. (Although the team had already wrapped up the gold medal because of Tim Daggett's performance, no one had told Peter.) He was the team captain and felt like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders, "knowing" that the team gold "rested" upon him.

If ever there were a moment in life that could have gotten the better of him because of stress and pressure, that was it. But, he did not let it affect him.

In his mind's eye, Peter recounted all the hours he had spent training for "that" moment. (Many times prior to the games, he and his teammates would yell out scenarios to each other, mimicking what they thought might "someday" happen.) He thought, as he prepared to perform, "I have done this before. Just one more time."

(Can you even imagine? Thinking the gold medal performance for the team lay on you? Knowing that if you goofed up, you would likely not win? Or, what it would have felt like with everyone else already knowing that your team had won the gold but they "forgot" to tell you before your last performance?)

Peter performed his routine to the best of his ability. The team won the gold, but not because of his amazing performance. (It was amazing, though.)

No one had thought any team but the Republic of China would win the men's gymnastics title, and now the United States had done so.

It was one of the best Olympic moments, ever.