The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Kayla Harrison: ‘This Is My Day. This Is My Purpose. I’m Not Afraid to Win.’

Posted on | August 3, 2012 | 11 Comments

The title quote is the pre-match mantra of the 22-year-old who won a gold medal in judo yesterday, and who in an interview last month told a reporter: “I do believe things happen for a reason.”

There are times in life when survival is victory. You make up your mind every day just to keep going, and you count each new day as another win.

Some people have easy lives, safe lives, privileged lives. The successes of such people surprise no one and inspire no one. But the people who succeed despite hardship, misfortune, humiliation and discouragement — the survivors, who had to fight merely to keep up the courage to keep fighting — these are the great heroes, the inspirational champions whose victories give hope to the downhearted.

Kayla Harrison won the Olympic gold medal.

Her former coach is serving 10 years in prison.

 


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Comments

  • Mortimer Snerd

    Fascinating story, and the Reid Forgrave article at the link is excellent.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Congratulations to Kayla Harrison!  

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  • robertstacymccain

    Well, I don’t know whether I saw this in the Forgravae story or not, but the worst of it is this: Her coach was her mentor, her hero and idol. She was 8 and he was 23 when he became her coach. She actually loved him and had once secretly planned to marry him as soon as she turned 18.

    This is the insidious nature of such “grooming” relationships, where the person in a position of authority — teacher, coach, whatever — psychologically exploits that relationship. In such situations, the victims blame themselves, not only for the abuse, but for the punishment suffered by the abuser when the crime is exposed. Often times, in situations like this, the abuser is a popular, admired figure, and his victim is ostracized for having exposed him.

    When I was a sports writer years ago, I remember in particular one coach who got fired under circumstances quite like this. And as incredible as it seems, many of the kids in that school blamed the girl as a “slut,” etc. That episode was horrible in many ways, and I felt rather traumatized myself, as I had covered this coach’s team for three years without ever suspecting him of anything like what got him fired.

    The weird thing: The girl and her family didn’t press charges and so, while the coach lost his job, he left without a crimiinal record. We can’t imagine that happening nowadays, but this was more than 20 years ago. Strangely (and one eventually learns this, as a reporter covering the education or sports beats) many such cases go undetected or, if school officials learn of them, no criminal charges are brought because the administrators wish to avoid the negative publicity. What happened at Penn State was by no means unusual in this regard.

  • robertstacymccain

    Anyway, I explained that by way of saying that one understands why, as Forgrave relates in his story, when Kayla arrived to train in Massachussets five years ago, she was so psychologically devastated by what she had gone through. For her to overcome that and go on to win a gold medal shows a high degree of mental toughness.

  • ThomasD

    Winners find a way.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Well said.  

    It is a horrible thing to do to a child.  That she went on to get a gold in judo (given the circumstances) is amazing.  She is a very strong person.  

  • M. Thompson

     Great job from her.  She’s got the sort of story that deserves to be told.

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  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    This is a great Olympic moment for sure.

    Today’s Men’s 10K race was one, too, in my opinion.  I wish Romney would shove that race’s outcome (and the details about it) and the closeness of our ties with Britain in Obama’s mug.   I put it on my site (though I don’t really do sports) but it’s an easy google.