Rio Olympics unite the world and UD

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Nathan Adrian, Ryan Held, Michael Phelps, and Caeleb Dressel take the podium and inspire the world. Photo courtesy of Fernando Frazao/Agencia Brasil

Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold medal. Simone Biles crushed the competition in gymnastics. Usain Bolt won his ninth gold medal out of nine total Olympic finals. A team of refugees competed for the first time.

These are just some of the more inspiring moments of the past two weeks at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. All of these feats have really served to create an “Olympic mindset” in some of the new freshmen here at the University of Dallas, giving them the inspiration to work hard after what they have seen from the athletes in Rio.

Many freshmen watched the Olympics over the past two weeks and loved the great competition, especially by Team USA.

Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles are now common household names. Both of these devout Catholic athletes showed that truly anything is possible with God, including breaking some world records.

Other Olympians sparked good conversation, such as American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab. Her bravery and lack of regard for any of the people who doubted her served to inspire many and showed that working through opposition is a key part of success.

These Olympics have given many freshmen something to bond over and provided talking points for meeting new people. Sports fan or not, everybody knows names like Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt, so no matter where he is from or what his major is, everybody has a common talking point in the Olympics.

“The Olympics have always felt homey for me because I had always watched them with my family,” freshman Henry Jaros said. “Coming into this new environment, watching the Olympics with some new guys and new friends helped make me feel more at home at UD.”

Another freshman, Hagen Goeters, was inspired by the strong female athletes that took center stage this year in Rio.

“I really loved seeing athletes like Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles compete,” Goeters said. “They were so much fun to watch, and seeing other girls compete like that was amazing.”

Freshman John Lowrie felt especially inspired by the refugee team, a group of athletes who were driven out of their countries by war and hardship but still wanted to compete in Rio.

“To see that they were still competing after all of the massive struggles in their lives is really amazing,” Lowrie said. “It definitely makes me think about what [we] here in America complain about, even though our lives are so easy compared to everything they have been through.”

Every two years, the Olympics unite countries and athletes from all over the world for competition. This year, however, they also did a great job uniting and inspiring many freshmen and making them all feel right at home here at UD.

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