The Poetry of Courage

Forget the medals. Forget ‘own the podium’. Forget the lucrative endorsement contracts.

In a matter of minutes, this is what Canadian figure skater Joannine Rochette made us do with her courageous performance at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

She could have walked away from Vancouver with a broken heart and gone home to grieve the sudden tragic loss of her mother with her family. No one with any sense or shred of decency would have questioned such a move. Instead, the gutsy performer from Quebec went to a place few of us have ever dared to go and summoned an inner strength of spirit that defied logic.

In a few brief and profoundly sparkling moments, Rochette epitomized what these and all Olympics should truly be about, the light of the human spirit illuminating the long dark night of the soul.

I can think of no better way for Rochette to gracefully honor the memory of her mother and the countless sacrifices she made along the way, than to gut it out and perform at this bitter-sweet moment in time.

The fact that she is doing so with a wounded soul and heavy heart only solidifies her golden reputation in the hearts of all Canadians and no medal, no matter how shiny or podium no matter how high, can ever top that.

Photo: (Torsten Silz/Getty Images)