Athletes around the world answer to a higher calling and carry a heavy burden to perform in their respective sport. Every day athletes push their limits to be greater than they were yesterday — this is especially true for Olympic athletes. Why? The answer is two-fold: Olympic athletes desire to perform at a championship level on a world stage and they want to do so while bringing glory to the institution they represent — Go USA!
Performing on the world stage carries with it a specific and unique burden in itself. Not just the judges, but the world is looking at you through a magnifying glass taking note of each action. It is so important that our Olympians recognize this opportunity and take advantage of it so they not only push the envelope in terms of athletic performance, but also positive societal change. From the youth to the elderly, our society will watch as magnificent Olympians impress us with their athletic talents. It is imperative that these same Olympians also impress upon us their desire to see reform, especially when it comes to the prevalence of sexual assault violence. As Olympian performances inspire youth around the world to start playing in sports, Olympian calls to action will be the catalyst for the change we need to see in our society’s norms.
It is encouraging to see Olympians like Aly Raisman and Jordan Burroughs join It’s On Us in the call for change. Their words are as transcending as their performances; compounding their greatness. While it will certainly take more work from us as a society along with our Olympians, we are indebted to those who take their unique opportunities to call for positive reform. Our kids, the future Olympians, will enjoy the fruit of our efforts as we strive to provide a much safer world in which they can go for Gold.
-Cody McDavis, It’s On Us Student Advisory Committee Regional Advisor, NCAA SAAC Member