The Olympics are over but Federal Way can learn a lot about becoming a better city from the world of elite athletics.
Years of focus, training and maintaining a positive attitude no matter what are what make these athletes impressive. Also, most represented themselves, their sport and country with dignity. Federal Way native J.R. Celski is an exemplary example of work ethic, love of sport and class.
A positive attitude is infectious. Team sports are about learning to work together and an Olympic team is about capturing imagination and setting dreams in motion. Think Jamaican bobsled team and you just smile.
Two athletes from a country without snow or bobsled-training facilities found a way to Sochi to compete and live the experience. They may have come in last place in the competition, but their effort to get to the Olympic games is what makes them hometown heroes and fan favorites.
The daily medal count is an exhibit of national pride and score keeping. But think about success on a national basis and consider population. The U.S. has a population of 310 million, compared to Norway’s 5 million. The U.S. sent 230 athletes to the Sochi games, which was the game’s largest contingent, and Norway sent 134. Norway is the most successful nation in the history of the Olympic winter games, both in terms of gold and total medals won.
This comparative thought is about proportionality, clarity of focus and excelling at what you do best.
The U.S. sends a large, well trained and financed team to the games. But a small country can excel with focus and choosing its events carefully. Small cities can achieve Olympic status by focusing on niche opportunities.
As a country, we love our athletes and chant “USA” when they win. We do not see or truly appreciate the endless hours of training but vicariously we share in their joy, feel their moments of defeat and our personal endorphins are released when our favorite athletes or fellow countryman succeed.
Where should Federal Way’s focus be as the energy of the 2014 Winter Olympic games fades? As individuals, I hope we find some Olympic spirit in our souls and do what we do in life better. Let’s challenge Federal Way to embrace a positive Olympic attitude toward renewing this city and taking it to a new level of competitiveness.
Federal Way does not have to do much of anything well to be a city. It can choose to be mediocre or great. As residents, it is our choice. We need to set a higher standard, expect more from our leaders and ourselves. We have to want to invest in a better future. Greatness comes from residents and businesses having a team spirit for this city and a willingness to improve at all levels.
Think about it – Federal Way on a medals stand, a leader of cities within the Puget Sound. Will this city make the investments necessary to become competitive at a higher level and earn the respect of the greater community? This city needs to create a new vision for itself.
Dream about building a city that can compete on a world stage. Its vision statement should spark our imagination and be worthy of an Olympic chant – Go Federal Way!
Federal Way resident Keith Livingston: firstname.lastname@example.org