For athletes participating in the Olympics

For athletes participating in the Olympics

YONCA TOKBAŞ

There are excellent athletes around me. Yes, I am surrounded by very good athletes who have been dedicated sportspeople since their childhood, who have been trained well and are actively working. 

Some of them are professional sports trainers, some are elite and some others are like me – a volunteer in love with sports. If I, myself, had not exerted so much labor in sports, if I had not personally witnessed how the trainers, coaches, elites and professionals have been working, believe me, I would have never been able to understand how much this effort, this thrill and this dream meant. 

Parents, sports trainers, kids and young people start their path with serious self-sacrifice. As a matter of fact, nobody is really aware of the fact that they quietly work and struggle day and night for years. 

When there is a major tournament or the Olympic Games where everybody is focused, then their names are cited. Everybody expects a medal from them. If you fail to win one, you are seen as unsuccessful. If you do win a medal, they ask, “Why is this not a gold?”

Whereas, the achievement you have reached just by gaining the right to go there and participate in the Olympic Games is pretty significant. I am so sorry that this goes unnoticed. 

The children of friends have been working for years to be able to participate in the Olympics one day and I know they will one day. 

I am questioning whether or not we will appreciate their efforts of many years if they do not win a medal. They are so lonely on this path… I mean, if they give up in the meantime, I would not be surprised. The sacrifice of the families to keep them on their path is insane. 

As a matter of fact, even wanting to start that path and to dream deserves all the applause. 

The day we start supporting, appreciating and applauding the effort and the labor of the athlete that go on for years, then the number of the medals, and their homecomings will be different and more meaningful.

The Olympic Games are the biggest sports event in the world. Once in my life, I had the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch; it was a historic moment. My name is in the books; it is impossible for me to forget that ever in my life. I have an Olympic torch at home. Whenever I look at it, I have a hard time believing. 

The Olympics will be in our lives one way or another until Aug. 21. We will watch with excitement all the athletes and different sports. I know I will not be viewing them as the winner or the loser. For me, all of them are heroic.  

In the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, 103 athletes from our country will compete in 21 branches. At Rio 2016, we won’t compete merely in our traditional sports such as wrestling and weightlifting, but also tennis, modern pentathlon, canoeing and rowing.  

More than 200 countries are participating. There are tens of thousands of athletes competing. Imagine that these tens of thousands of athletes have all dedicated a life to this dream… 

It makes me happy. 

For all our athletes who have gained the right to represent our country, who have worked for many years, who have fully dedicated themselves to this dream, for them to be there, for them to breathe the air and be able to compete, doing their best is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is so worthy of appreciation. 

Whatever the outcome is, I want to thank you for all the efforts you have exerted for all these years. With all my best wishes to all of our athletes there and their families…

Enjoy the best of that environment over there, dear friends… 

Do your best in high spirits, with the power of your brain, body and soul; inhale the spirit of sports in its most beautiful form; live it…