Friday, February 14, 2014

Montessori Values and the Spirit of the Olympic Games — Special Moments

The beginning of the year has been tough, with extreme weather conditions causing difficulty around the world- but blowing in with the wind and snow of winter is the whirlwind of energy and excitement that is the 2014 Winter Olympic Games!
NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit rings holding hands
Held in Sochi, Russia, the XXII Olympic Games are the perfect opportunity to forget about the blizzard blues and celebrate the spirit and values that the games are founded on in your Montessori environment. Perseverance, dedication, compassion, sportsmanship, camaraderie, and tolerance are huge parts of the Olympic games, and the spirit and wonderful values will inspire young children to become the best global citizens that they can be. Here are some of our favorite inspirational moments for you to share from the Sochi Olympics thus far.

Celebrate the Olympic Spirit! Montessori Values In Inspiring Winter Games Moments

Helping, Supporting, and Celebrating Others

Athletes train for most of their lives and often struggle to raise the funds required to travel across the world to compete for their country. Despite how difficult it can be to get to the Olympics, athletes often find ways to honor and support others around them, making the spirit of the games the most important outcome.

Ski Team Coach Rushes to Aid a Fallen Athlete

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit coach helps skier on hill
  • After a Russian contender fell and snapped his ski during the cross country sprint semi-finals, the broken pieces tangled in his legs and prevented him from continuing. Rather than see the athlete begin a long walk to the finish line, a Canadian coach rushed onto the hill with a spare ski and helped strap it on. [link]

Alex Bilodeau Celebrates Gold with His Brother

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit bilodeau with brother
  • After winning a gold medal, Alex Bilodeau immediately ran to the sidelines and pulled his brother Frederic (who has cerebral palsy) over the barricade to celebrate the win. Alex has spoken of his close bond with his sibling and how Frederic's motivation, perseverance, and unshakable attitude are the driving force behind his Olympic dreams: "He's my everyday inspiration." [link]

Family Values

Bilodeau is just one of the many heart-warming stories that highlight how the Olympics are made possible by the support and love of family and friends.

Skeleton Athlete's Family Attends Three Months Straight of Competition and Training
NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit pikus-pace with child
  • After suffering an injury, Noelle Pikus-Pace retired from women's skeleton after the 2010 games to take time away from sport and focus on her family. However, her family and friends raised $70,000 so that her children and husband could travel with her during her rehabilitation and while she qualified for and won the silver medal in Sochi. Her children have shared the podium with her, and her husband helped design the sled that she celebrated her come-back wins on. [link]

Three Sisters Compete Together to Win Gold and Silver

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit dufour-lapointe sisters
  • The Dufour-Lapointe sisters have been skiing, racing, and competing with each other since the age of ten. Rather than letting competition drive them apart, the sisters have become inseparable, learning from each other, celebrating in each other's successes, and respecting each other's feelings. Two of the sisters topped the podium together, while the third cheered them on! [link]

Teamwork and Sacrifice

Siblings who compete in the Olympics together make for strong teammates, but it's not only families who make sacrifices for each other. Olympic athletes work together, and some of the most touching moments from the games come when the respect between team members is demonstrated by personal sacrifice.

Twin Skier Gives Up Her Sochi Spot so Her Sister Can Compete

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit barnes sisters
  • When Lanny Barnes could not complete enough races to qualify for the Sochi Olympics due to a grave illness, her twin sister Tracy Barnes gave up her spot so that Lanny could realize her Olympic dreams. Even though this could be Tracy's last Olympic games, she "began to remember everything that Lanny had done for her down the years, like taking on extra work for sponsors to allow Tracy to spend more time with her husband. Because in sport, it’s got to be about more than just you. It’s so much more motivating when you’re racing for something bigger than yourself." [link]

Skater Voluntarily Gives Up His Spot so His Teammate Can Race

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit denny and gilmore
  • After an unfortunate fall meant Denny Morrison did not qualify for the speedskating finals, his teammate approached him and asked him to take his spot. Gilmore Junio watched proudly as Denny skated to a silver medal and celebrated at his team member's side. Denny is hoping that Canada will choose Gilmore as the flag bearer in the closing ceremonies to honor his amazing team spirit. [link]

Dedication, Perseverance, and Collaboration

Being an Olympian is often a dream that starts in childhood and takes a lifetime of dedication to achieve. No matter where they are from in the world, every unique Olympic athlete shares a similar story of incredible hard work and perseverance.

The Jamaican Bobsled Team Qualifies for the Sochi Olympics Funded by Supporters All Over the World

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit jamaican bobsled team
  • Because of the extensive travel (there aren't a lot of winter sports in Jamaica!), the precision equipment that is required, and the huge tracks needed for competition, bobsledding is a very expensive sport. When the Jamaican bobsled team qualified for this year's Olympics with a lot of heart but not much funding, people from all over the world donated $170,000 to help them get to the games and participate. [link]

Skier from Nepal Starts Training at 33 and Competes in Three Olympic Games over the Next Decade

NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit sherpa nepal skier
Getty Images
  • Dachhiri Sherpa started training for the Olympics in 2003, when he was 33 years old. Now, at age 44, he is competing in his third Olympic games for Nepal. Even starting later in life- he was raised in a monastery and is now a bricklayer!- his achievements have come from his hard work, as he takes months off from work at a time to train every single day. “I think there is a very big chance I will finish last. But the placing is not important if I can teach young people in Nepal about the Olympic spirit. This spirit is in my heart.” [link]

Indian Luger Trains in Traffic, Teaches Americans Yoga, and Makes an Amazing Save
NAMC Montessori values olympic spirit luge shiva keshavan
  • India has no luge tracks, no luge team or culture, and not even much interest in sliding, so Shiva Keshavan began his training on a wheeled sled, weaving in and out of car traffic on roads in the Himalayas! To continue learning, he looked for a nation to partner with, and now works at training with the US team. They support him and give him advice, tips, and coaching and in return he teaches them yoga; they are a multinational "team" made up of competitors and friends. In Sochi, Shiva amazed the world by remaining so focused and calm during a fall off of his luge that he was able to regain control of the luge and get back on to finish the race. [link]

Here's an animated gif of the incredible feat, slowed down:

The Olympic Games is a time for the world to come together to celebrate and compete in the spirit of dedication and sportsmanship, and it is the perfect time to celebrate diversity, teamwork, perseverance, and compassion in your Montessori environment. Do you have other favorite inspirational moments from Sochi that highlight the Olympic spirit? Please share them with us in the comments below!
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, February 14, 2014.


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