Four years of training and grueling practice came to an early end for Jeremy Abbott in his short program for men’s figure skating. His dream to stand on the Olympic podium fell hard with him to the ice after he attempted a quadruple toe loop.
Sliding and crashing into the wall, Abbott grabbed his hip. His face contorted with pain.
Abbott winced, then stood on his skates. Shoulders slumped in defeat as he glanced toward his coaches. They moved toward the entrance door, ready to support Abbott when he hobbled off the ice, surely unable to finish.
A collective gasp rose from the spectators crowded into Russia’s Iceberg Arena. Then applause. Vibrating, thundering applause for this young athlete’s effort.
Abbott looked up and around the arena.
Then, he did the improbable. With his music still playing, Jeremy Abbott eased back into his program and completed every subsequent move and jump with Olympic precision.
The reward for his efforts? This medal contender earned 72.58 points and finished #15 in a field of 29. Not first, second, or third on the Olympic podium. But first in grit and perseverance after such a devastating experience.
Later in an interview, a reporter asked Abbott, “What happened out there?”
Abbott responded, “I heard the crowd applauding, encouraging me. I didn’t want to let them down.”
Did you hear that? He was tempted to give up, but then he heard the roars of applause and encouragement. With that wind at his back, he stared at the face of defeat and kept going.
Who do you know reeling with discouragement? Whose face is contorted in pain or shoulders slumped? Who sees no reason to continue their effort?
Hearing our applause and encouragement could be the tipping point between their giving up or going on.
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll al be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, The Message)
©2014 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.