Making mistakes like a champion

The Olympics have been, in a word, amazing. 

The opening ceremony?  Blow me away.

Michael Phelps?  Mark, how do you feel about allowing him to enter our marital bond? Yes, I’m serious.

U.S. Men’s Gymnastics? I love the underdogs, but could ya please stop talking to the cameras and giving shout outs to your peeps back home? Thanks.

Chinese Women’s Gymnastics?  You girls are adorable, and I bet you can’t wait to do this whole thing again when you are really old enough to be there!

The French swimmer talking insanity about possibly beating an American team with Michael Phelps on it? Hi, I’d like to introduce you to Jason Lezak. Smashing, isn’t he?

And the part of the Olympics that has warmed my heart and captivated me the most?

Liang Chow, Shaw Johnson’s coach.

He has given her two pieces of wisdom as she journeys towards Olympic success. 

Perform like a champion.

And don’t be afraid to make a mistake.

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake? In gymnastics?  Where the only thing that matters is not. making. a. mistake.  Ever.  The man must be crazy, right?

I don’t keep up with gymnastics unless it is an Olympic year, so I had no clue who this little dynamo was.  I wondered how someone who had been told ‘mistakes are ok’ would perform.

Shawn Johnson is amazing.  She is the only American gymnast calm enough to smile (seriously, Bridget Sloan, I know you’re underage, but you seriously need a drink) and looks like she is… enjoying herself!

Everytime I watch her I can’t help but imagine the stress that does not exist for this little girl because of Liang Chow’s kindness.

And when Alicia Sacramone pretty much ruined any gold medal chance for the U.S. team?  And Marta Karyoli did this distantI “I-hate-you-for-ruining-this-for-us” hug thing?  It was Liang Chow who stepped up and gave her a real hug. 

Because in Liang Chow’s world it isn’t about perfection or victory.  Gymnastics is just one more place to practice being a human, specifically a loving and supportive human, and the beauty of this approach is showing up in Shawn Johnson.

“Freedom to make mistake” thoughts are being sent to all the Olympic athletes.

Well…except to Michael Phelps.  Mama wants more gold!

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