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The Olympic Creed

I’ve enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics over the last couple weeks. All of the hard work, training and dedication have paid off, the medals have been counted, and athletes who proudly represented their countries have returned home. There were moments of heartache and celebration as athletes reached their personal best, and some were eliminated long before expected. But one thing I came across preparing for this article that I didn’t hear much about throughout the Olympics, was the Olympic Creed. It reads, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

It struck me that this phrase is relevant to many parts of life, not simply the fierce competition of the Olympic Games. The most poignant part of the phrase . . . just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. So many individuals living with a mental illness, or who have a loved one with a mental illness, know too well about struggles that present themselves each day, and it is working through these struggles toward recovery where the most living happens. Where small and large “triumphs” happen. While recovery is the ultimate triumph and the sign one has “conquered” their mental illness; the most empowering part of the process is when one decides to take part in their recovery, to fight to work toward the life they envision for themselves or loved one. You may not “win” and reach recovery right away, or on the first attempt, or even on the second, but most importantly, you are taking part in the process. You are fighting well. You are being an active participant toward a healthier life. A life full of wellness.

I congratulate each of the Olympic athletes who are heading home to their loved ones, medal in hand or not. I enjoyed watching the elegant ice skaters and dancers, the dare devils on skis and snowboards, and learning more about winter sports than I ever knew existed, as well as learning more about the Russian culture. But I would also like to congratulate those fighting through the struggles of life each day, toward their own form of triumph – recovery. While it may be a long road, it is certainly one worth traveling. So to all of you who have “fought well” through your struggles, and continue to do so, congratulations. We here at The Kim Foundation are proud of you, and look forward to learning more about your stories of triumph.