WOW Dozen: Inspiring Journeys: Overcoming Adversity on the Road to Olympic Victory

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

In July 2024, the world’s attention will turn to Paris, France, as athletes from across the globe come together to compete in the summer Olympic Games. Millions of spectators will watch as these Olympic athletes showcase their physical talents in running, jumping, throwing, rowing, cycling, tumbling, diving and swimming events among others, all competing for a chance to write their names in sporting history.

Olympic athletes, past and present, are often celebrated for their physical achievements, but their journeys to the medal podium are also filled with inspiring stories of overcoming adversity. This month, the WOW Dozen features stories about past Olympic athletes who overcame significant obstacles including racism, sexism, poverty and illness to reach the peak of their sports. Notable stories include Sammy Lee, who practiced his diving skills in a backyard sandpit due to segregated pools, eventually winning gold and bronze medals, and Billy Mills who overcame personal obstacles and surpassed expectations with his remarkable victory in the 10,000-meter race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

This WOW Dozen features stories about courageous individuals who had the determination and confidence necessary to succeed against all odds. Sharing these Olympians’ stories celebrates their lives and teaches valuable lessons, inspiring the next generation. Continue reading

Decorative WOW Currents Banner

An On-going Struggle for Equal Voting Rights

By Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, Westminster College, retired, and Rebecca Ballenger, Worlds of Words, University of Arizona, Tucson

People from all backgrounds hold signs that say vote in multiple languagesJane Goodall recently outlined, “Every vote matters, more this year than perhaps any time in history.” As voters from the United States to South Africa, Mexico, India and beyond enter a major election year, Jane urges anyone who will listen to pause and consider each candidate’s record on a single issue–her/his/their efforts to support the health of our Earth. Yet we know U.S. voters will ponder additional issues, ranging from the economy and democracy to immigration, reproductive rights, foreign policy, gun rights, equality and more. Continue reading