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When Failure is More Inspiring than Success
Resa Nelson posted on March 31, 2014

I became a fan of the Olympics before I learned the intention of the ancient Greeks: that all countries around the world should stop all wars for a few weeks and send their best athletes to compete at the Olympic Games.  People are at their best when working toward a dream, and I’ve always been inspired by Olympic athletes.

But this year, my greatest inspiration didn’t come from an Olympic medalist but from someone who experienced a disastrous fall and yet found the strength to rise and continue.

Maybe you saw figure skater Jeremy Abbott compete at the Olympics.  The current U.S. national champion, Abbott was expected to win an Olympic medal.  But when he skated, a difficult jump tilted out of control.  Unable to land, he crashed on the ice, taking most of the blow on his hip and sliding into the side of the rink where his body remained motionless.

Stunned, I worried about his injuries.  Would he have to be carried off the ice on a stretcher?  Was he still breathing?

Seconds past, seeming like hours.  Finally, he moved.  His face wrenched in pain, he brought himself to his feet.  In a later interview, Abbott said he felt confused, not knowing what to do next.  He said he wondered if he should approach the judges.

He looked surprised when the audience cheered, clapping their encouragement for Abbott to continue.

Despite his pain, that’s what Abbott chose to do.  Still grimacing in pain, he threw himself into the rest of his program, executing jumps with grace.  If I had ignored the pain on his face and looked only at the rest of his body, I never would have guessed he’d suffered such a catastrophic fall just a minute or so ago.

When Abbott finished his program and faced the crowd, his face glowed with a mix of astonishment and appreciation I’ve never seen before in any kind of athletic event.  He gazed at the crowd, placing his hands over his heart.  While the crowd roared, he looked grateful and humbled by the outpouring of love from an audience made up of people from all over the world.

In that same interview, when asked about the loss of his Olympic dream, Abbott showed no regret.  He talked about his decision to get back on his feet and finish what he’d started, adding that he hoped he could be an inspiration to others to persevere.

We all fall.  Life doesn’t go the way we plan or hope, and some disappointments can be just as devastating as crashing onto the ice and slamming into a wall.

My friends tell me I’m the picture of persistence because if I genuinely want something I refuse to give up.  But I’ve learned to persevere by watching other people do it.  So thank you, Jeremy Abbott, for showing all of us what it means to persevere.

I’ll be thinking about you for years to come.  And when the characters in the next novels I write show grit and determination, please know you’ve influenced them, as well.


What if the only way you could save your own life was to kill yourself?

 Read Resa Nelson's new murder mystery, All Of Us Were Sophie.


The Dragonslayer series

recommended for Adults and Teens (14 and up)
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Also from Resa Nelson, a mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt: