Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Gold: Was it worth the sacrifice?

Some of you may have witnessed the historic moment as Shen and Zhao skated to Olympic gold Monday night in Vancouver. They accomplished what no other Chinese figure skating pair had ever accomplished, and they did it under the tutelage of Yao Bin.

Yao experienced disgrace as a figure skater back in 1980. The Chinese were infants in the sport at that time and his first pair performance resulted in laughter from the crowd and a last place finish. After that humiliating episode, he determined to transform Chinese pairs figure skating into the best in the world. Last night he fulfilled his dream. Unfortunately, that accomplishment included a high cost.

NBC aired a video bio on Yao’s journey during the figure skating competition. The video vignette mentioned that Yao’s commitment to transforming Chinese figure skating kept him away from home for years at a time. Yao admitted that he didn’t even recognize his son when he saw him, because he had been gone so long. Yet, he persisted in such long absences in order to accomplish his goal.

Last night a Chinese figure skating pair won gold. He fulfilled his dream. Do you think it was worth it?

The world will recognize Yao as the man who transformed Chinese figure skating into a world class power. Chinese skaters will view him as the icon of pairs figure skating. Olympic history will remember him as the first Chinese coach to win Olympic gold in the sport. But what will his son remember him as?

I found Yao Bin’s story fascinating until they mentioned the extent of his sacrifice. At that point, I wondered, “Is his story one of success or failure?” Maybe it depends on what kind of legacy you want to leave. Personally, when the LORD takes me from this earth, I hope that my children would say, “My father loved God, loved me, and lived with integrity.” I hope that the time I spend with them will impact them for eternity.

If I bring a gold medal back to my country or transform a struggling company into a fortune 500 firm and yet fail to impact my children for Christ, I will not feel like a success. Success for me could be summed up in the words of the apostle John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 4 NIV).”

What about you? What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

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