Light Lessons Blog with Patsie McCandless - Learning Light Lessons from Olympians

Learning Light Lessons from Olympians

We can all learn Light Lessons from Olympians striving for the very best while sharing joyful, uplifting, heartfelt support for each other.

I watched recaps of the events and each time, I came away with stunning instances of the true Olympic ideals that we can remember to Light our own way through life’s journey.

Participation in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics was intense, yet every day, Olympians showed the world true inspiration and true sportsmanship, in countless gestures of gracious and thoughtful compassion among human beings. There were no boundaries whatsoever. The stories that follow are about human beings of all ages, shapes and sizes – not about countries or nationalities. They are truly inspiring.

Poignant Olympian Moments

There are so many, many moments, it’s challenging to recall them all.


I was first struck by the swimmers and their teams. One world-record holder was trumped by her younger teammate, yet she radiated praise – that “this kid just had the swim of her life!” And how proud she was to be on the same team.

Another swimmer reputed to be the sure-winner, lost to a rival, and thanked her, saying, “I wouldn’t be here without her. She set an incredible standard. All credit to her.”

And yet another swimmer gave one of his gold medals to a teammate, who got the team into the finals, but didn’t get to swim for a medal.

One more swimmer not only won a gold medal but she also broke the world record! Her reaction was simply exhilarating – and got even better when she was engulfed in a group hug from her opponents!


Skateboarding was a surprise for me, at how beautifully and fearlessly these young people perform… at the ripe old age of 13! Not only performing, but having the time of their lives! And the rivals congratulating each other with a big hug!


Everyone knows that one gymnast, perhaps the greatest of all time, withdrew. But it was obvious what a true sportswoman she is, when she was the first to congratulate her opponent for her gold medal.  (I think, also, the gymnast replacement, who had to step onto the Olympic stage so spontaneously, deserves praise, too.) And how gratifying that so many other gymnasts had their chance to shine!


There were stories from Badminton, too. The two opponents embraced – and then surprised onlookers by exchanging shirts! Then, another badminton player lost her chance for a gold medal – and was consoled by the opponent she had beaten just the day before!

Track & Field

Track and field brought tears to my eyes when one man fell and the man behind him fell, too. Their medal hopes were dashed, but they helped each other up, laced their arms over each other’s shoulders and finished the race together.

The women’s relay gold medalist gathered in a beautiful, circled embrace, with their heads bowed together. I don’t know what they said, but to me it looked like a meditation of pure gratitude.

And I loved the ecstatic reaction from the high jumpers, who tied so many times – they asked to share the gold medal. It was a show of pure joy!

Light Lessons for Everyone’s Life Journey

These Olympians gave us a picture of hopes and dreams that felt palpable. Their belief in themselves was electrifying. They each brought teaching moments for every on-looker, and they each showed us lessons we can use every day.


All the Olympians trained with extreme perseverance, and all were thankful for it. Now, some athletes had fantastic coaches behind them, and they were the first to be thanked… profusely.  Other athletes arrived with only their own teammates  – and they all relied on each other, gratefully. Some had only themselves and their belief. But there was always a ritual of gratitude: for their good fortune, their guidance, their support from family and friends. It was very gratifying to see and hear.


Belief is one of the great Light Lessons from Olympians. When the going got tough – and ‘tough’ does not nearly describe some of the grueling physical experiences (especially in the Triathalons and Marathons) – there was something in the body of these Olympians – the legs, arms, shoulders, the tilt of the head – and certainly, the expression on the faces – that said, I believe – I can do this – I can go on – I am still moving onward – I believe in myself.

In their mind-set, it seemed they had an inner vision. They held to a picture – or perhaps a mantra within. Afterward, the audience saw proof of just that. One marathoner had written a report in 4th grade that one day she would win an Olympic medal. Another cyclist had written on her refrigerator: “Gold at Tokyo”.

A Light lesson in Song

Believing is a most powerful energy. I recently heard a song by The Pentatonix: “We are All Made of Stars:

Searching for change and opportunity
If you believe in what you want to see
One day your pain will be a blessing
And every fall’s a lesson – Search for the light inside yourself

Of course – that is right up my alley – or right in my everyday magic! It is all about revealing your Light.

Joy and Passion

One of my Light Lessons is to: Do what you Love  – and Love what you Do.

Watching the Olympians, it was obvious they had this lesson down in spades. The love of their sport radiates through the whole body and at the end of the performance, it glistens in the smiles.

Many of these athletes have a desire – a dream – that they blend with happy-healthy-success images.

That Pentatonix song goes on:

We’re all made of stars
We’re all made of dreams
Just use your spirit and heart  – you can
Go where you want – Do what you like – Be who you want to be!


I heard several athletes speak of their passion. They love the way it makes them feel. It evolves into wanting to be their highest and best. And often they realize that they are inspiring themselves and others.

Light Lessons of Sportsmanship at its Best

The Olympians reminded us all of some of the best Light Lessons in Life. The human body is a powerful and elegant framework. The mind and body working together has a potential that can carry us far beyond what we formerly perceived. We can raise the bar on our expectations, and our body surprises and delights us with new successes.

Belief combined with tenacious determination – and practice-practice-practice – can bring us to new heights… new Lights… for both the athlete and the fans! As Jesse crows in Becoming Jesse:

“This is so much fun! Everybody has their Lights On!”

Light On!