The 2012 Olympics were truly memorable with over 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries. For the first time, every represented country sent at least one female athlete. Hundreds of medals were awarded in 302 victory ceremonies.
Individual achievements were remarkable: Oscar Pistorius whose lower legs were amputated as a baby, competed on his “blades” in two events–and took medals. Silver medalist Bryshon Nellum, who carried the American flag in the closing ceremonies, suffered shotgun wounds in both his thighs and right hamstring in 2008; doctors doubted whether running at his level would ever be an option. Cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti from Rwanda survived genocide–but six of his brothers and more than 60 extended family members were murdered. There were dozens of stories of individuals overcoming incredible challenges to accomplish incredible goals. Many winning athletes adopted special diets (including the gluten-free diet) to help them achieve their goals.
Considering the world population, the odds of winning a gold medal are about 1 in 22 million.
The odds of a child having a food allergy are about 1 in 13. And many of these children overcome significant challenges to accomplish their everyday goals. Like playing soccer or being a cheerleader. Like going to camp. Even attending school can be an big accomplishment for children with anaphylactic reactions to certain foods.
Do these kids deserve a medal? Yes, in my book, but chances are they wouldn’t want a medal. They just want to be like any other kid. I think parents and family members who do so much to make kids safe and give them as much confidence and knowledge as possible deserve medals, too. But they’d just say that this is what caring families do - they love each other and take care of each other.
As we remember the astounding 2012 Olympic athletes and their incredible feats, let’s take a moment to remember - and celebrate! - our special-diet children.
Do you have a story about a special person to share with us?