All Olympic Games have their astounding moments of agony and ecstasy. Nowadays those moments are intensified by media hype that approaches soap operatic quality.

The media hounded Lindsey Jacobellis after her incredible finish in the Snowboard cross event. A shoo-in for an American gold-medal, Lindsey was a second away from winning a gold-medal and so far ahead she was moved to do a little hot-dogging maneuver that caused her to fall down. She recovered and got a silver medal and was immediately bombarded by the media. “How do you feel, why did you do it, was it worth it, were you showing off?” Etc., etc. They banged away at her seeming self-indulgence, wondering how badly she must now feel.
To her great credit, Lindsey did not shy away. She said she was so far ahead and felt so exhilarated that she couldn’t resist a little showing off. She knows it cost her the gold-medal, but said an Olympic silver medal is a great honor for her and her country. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and want to thank my family and friends for their support. “

Lindsey will undoubtedly take from this experience that all certainty is fleeting, but I also hope she will always remember the excitement of that moment and the ecstasy that made her want to leap for joy. We will all indulge ourselves and we will all fall, but Lindsey Jacobellis got up, said thank you for opportunity she’d been given, and didn’t let it steal her joy.
Then there was Joey Cheek, the 26-year-old American who got the gold-medal in the 500 meter speed skating event. At his post race press conference, Joey took his “few seconds of microphone time” to talk about the genocide in the Dafur region of Sudan. He said, “I have this unique opportunity, so I am going to take advantage of it.” He said he is donating his $25,000 in prize money to a program to help the 60,000 displaced children in refugee camps, saying “it is empowering to think of someone other than yourself.”

These are two clean cut American athletes, gold and silver medal winners, who made America proud, reminding us that we will stand up for ourselves and we will stand up for others.