It has become all too easy to dismiss an old, enduring truth. The idea that it is as important to compete as it is to win is often mocked today.
Professional sport, especially the pretend, synthetic kind, leaves little room for high ideals or personal fulfillment.
The winner takes all nearly always. But thankfully not always.
Every four years, the world’s athletes compete among themselves and with themselves.
Though there can be only one gold medal winner, most Olympians are winners. That was highlighted by Sligo’s history-making swimmer Mona McSharry who finished eighth in her first Olympic final.
The magnificence of her achievement is amplified by the fact that a single sentence can contain the words Sligo, swimmer, and Olympic final.
Magnificent as that may be, it hardly relates to the challenges overcome by a young woman from a small Irish city to reach a Tokyo final.
Neither does it convey that old truth about competing or that an athlete can lose and win at the same time — as Mona did so splendidly. An inspirational performance.