By Reem Abdalazem
Every time I go back to my thoughts of my time being there, I get in an emotional state of euphoria and overwhelm at the same time. It was an experience that I could not have hoped to encounter in any other way.
It was not only about the excitement and thrill I sensed all the way there. It was also about the challenge I had to get past and the concentration and focus I had to maintain. Being with all of these Olympic athletes, from different countries, with all possible ages, especially the ones I take as role models, I have learned a lot.
I watched how they separated all their thoughts and emotions from everything around them. They are dedicated not only to their habits, but their lifestyle as well as to their sport. I admired the fact that while I got to compete and do my job there. I also got to watch other Olympians just as dedicated and focused as me. It felt a combination of all the toughest athletes in the world, in one place, the Olympic Village.
Sometimes it took me a few seconds to look around and embrace the exquisiteness of the village, and the fact that I made it here for the second time. I got to look past all the things that overwhelmed me four years ago in my first Olympics in China. The organization, the perfection, the classification of all the various luxuries prepared best for the athletes’ comfort.
I was not just satisfied with being there and making an appearance. I also felt the urge to make history for my country, the desire to make my family proud and to prove to myself that I really deserve to be where I am.
So, as the competition time was getting closer the thrill and excitement grew more each day. And our performance was finally “great,” in every sense of the word. Watching the audiences’ happiness and feeling a warm vibe from the stands, listening to people cheering for you, such a beautiful indescribable feeling.
As soon as the rank appeared on the screen after competing, I did not want anything anymore. I was truly, truly gratified. I did make history. Our team made history. At that moment it did not matter all the hard and stressful times I had to get past or the pain I had to bear.
It all really came down to that quote carved in the Olympic Park taking two minutes of my time every day to reflect upon it.
“That which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak with time and fate, but strong by will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”