Dana Hee on IDENTITY CRISES…
* Have you lost your company, your prestigious job, your ‘position’ in life?
* Are you feeling powerless without that ‘identification?’
* Please know, that ‘perceived’ power comes from a title. Your true power comes from within!
Imagine this? You perceive yourself to ‘be’ an ‘Olympian.’ You know yourself as an ‘Olympic Gold Medalist.
Then, you discover, that what you have believed is no longer possibly true! What do you do about that sense of LOSS?
Here’s a blogger note I wrote on my website in 2008!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Once an Olympian, Always an Olympian, Never Former…Never Past!
This is what was ingrained in my head when competing for the Olympics and there-after.
Is a ‘Demonstration Sport’ athlete at the Olympic Games REALLY an Olympian?
THIS….is the question. Kind of like…’to be’..or ‘NOT to be’….eh? As a gold medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games in the demonstration sport of Taekwondo…this is a question that affects myself, my team mates, and many others. It has been a very confusing issue at times….so perhaps you can give me YOUR opinion.
I discovered some time after competing in the 24th Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, that according to the IOC (International Olympic Committee), ‘demonstration sport’ athletes were not fully recognized as ‘Olympians.’
According to the USOC (United States Olympic Committee), we ‘used’ to be considered Olympians (at the time I competed…in 1988). At the WOA General Assembly in 2003, WOA, the World Olympians Association revised its constitution and defined an Olympian as “an athlete accredited by an OCOG to compete in a full medal sport on the program at the Olympic Games. And now….according to recent correspondence with USOC president, one of my hero’s, Willie Banks….
“Dana, Thank you for your email. Congratulations on your medal in the Seoul Olympic Games. I have been following a discussion on the definition of Olympian and I just discovered that the USOC Athletes Advisory Commission decided to endorse the definition of the World Olympians Association. THe only question that arises is whether any definition not accepted by the IOC is not really official. Therefore, the question is still very much open and debatable. As far as the US Olympians are concerned you will be treated as an Olympian within our organization until an official decision is made by the IOC and ratified by the US Olympians. Willie
Frankly, I find all of this quite fascinating, since I believe that there is no question, that…in my mind, I am an ‘Olympian.’ It is was I dreamed of…it is what I struggled so hard for…it is what I achieved…it is something that I will always encourage others to strive for and support…and it is what I will always feel that I am.
The fact is, I qualified for what everyone called, ‘the Olympic Team’ in my sport of Taekwondo. Our U.S. Team trained at the Olympic Training Center gearing up for the Olympics. Myself and my team mates attended all Olympic ceremonies (opening/closing/send-off/U.S. Presidential White House, etc. with NO differentiation between ‘us’ and other ‘full-medal’ athletes).
We received all materials identifying ourselves as ‘U.S. Olympic Team’ members (even the most important items…such as underwear and socks! ha, ha).’ Myself and others were awarded our medals that commemorates us as an Olympic winner in a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games…complete with Olympic rings.
We received credit on television, magazines, and newspapers with the title of ‘Olympic medalist in a demonstration sport.’ And then, after the Games, I attended the International Olympic Academy as a delegate/representative from the United States with three other full-medal sport athletes.
In fact, I don’t believe I, or my team mates have done anything differently than any other full-medal athletes….even the athletes now competing in the full-medal sport of Taekwondo. So how is it then, that there are some out there that say that myself and others in my position cannot be called ‘Olympians’…..or may not be called ‘Olympians’ in the future?
Hmmm…… Don’t you just love these complicated, yet meaningless issues that crowd our minds when we are trying to sleep at night? Isn’t it amazing how the human mind wants to find that little ‘Achilles Heel’ to rein in our sense of pride and accomplishment? Especially, when the truth of the matter is that, it doesn’t really matter if anyone calls me an Olympian.
When I remember how much I struggled and fought to change my life and make my dream come true…when I remember the agony and tears…the little triumphs, and then the setbacks.
When I remember standing on that Olympic podium with my stomach in my throat and a huge smile on my face, and my fist raised in the air for that one moment in time….when I think back to that sense of overwhelming pride in seeing my country’s national flag raising to the beautiful sound of our national anthem…I know that only one thing matters….I am a champion….not just in sports…but more importantly, I am a champion in life.
You see…I have finally realized, that it doesn’t matter if I am called an ‘Olympian,’ or an ‘Olympic Gold Medalist!’
What matters, is that I remember that a ‘title’ does not make me someone special! A title does not define me.
Who I am, what I have overcome, what I set out to achieve, what I accomplish, and how I use that to help others is what the real game of life is all about. ‘That’ is my true definition.
I am simply a woman who has come a long way, and still has a long ways to go. I am simply a woman who knows the meaning of hope, courage, and perseverance. And title or no, I will do what I can to help others maintain hope and courage and learn perseverance!
I know who I am. My name is Dana Hee.