Today's Torchbearer: Chris Fries

DL passed the torch to Chris Fries of A Writer's Expanding and Slightly-Warped Universe. He's here today talking about the underdogs of the Games.

Let me first offer a big “Thank you!” to Nicole for hosting this fun Olympic Inspiration Blogging Relay! There have been some great inspirational posts, and I’m really pleased to be able take part in it.

To me, it’s always inspiring and entertaining watching the Olympics. I love the drama and the excitement in the competition, even when it’s taped-delayed as it has been here on NBC in the States.

And of course there’s the fabulous pageantry – did you see the opening ceremonies? I think it’s awesome watching the parade of nations as the athletes enter, country-by-country. Most here in the US cheered the entry of  the large contingent of our American athletes with pride. There were a ton of them -- 530 American competitors went to London.  It was one the second-largest single-nation group in the Olympics. Great Britain, being the host country, has 541 athletes competing. Other countries also brought a huge contingent: Russia has 438 athletes, Australia 410, Germany 392, and China 380.  It’s always impressive seeing these massive waves of competitors, all dressed in the colors of their countries, all eager for the chance to bring home victory for their nations.

But you know what really inspires me? Seeing the entry of the three athletes from countries like Belize, Chad, or Brunei. Or the tiny contingent of only two athletes from countries like Gambia, Dominica, or Nauru. How many of us even know where Nauru is? I had to look it up – it’s HERE, in Micronesia.

Amid the grandeur of the Olympics, competing against the vast national powerhouses that can field hundreds of athletes, these small nations send their competitors to the games in the hope of bringing a small slice of glory back to their homelands. These athletes come without the huge entourages, without the deep financial backing, and all-too-often without much recognition from the global community.

But they come, and they give their all to compete on an international stage against the giants.

To me, writing is like that -- especially as an unpublished writer. I’m plugging away in anonymity, doing my best to compete against the giants of the writing and publishing industry, hoping that I can master my craft enough to gain a few readers and a small bit of recognition. And despite the overwhelming odds, no matter what, I’ll stay committed, practice diligently, and do all I can to compete to the best of my ability,

And maybe – just like an unknown athlete from a tiny country who defies the odds and ends up medaling – I’ll someday earn my own piece of writing glory.

I absolutely love this angle! Thanks so much for sharing, Chris.


  1. Go for the gold, Chris! We're all rooting for ya! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  2. The Olympics has shown its way to help us strengthen our writing muscles, that's for sure. Great post, Chris! :)

  3. You will if you don't quit!
    There were a lot of countries with just a couple athletes and I'm sure they were all thrilled to be there.

  4. @Mina: Thanks! I appreciate that. ;^)

    @David: Thank you very much, David!

    @Alex: I appreciate the vote of confidence, Alex! In many ways, I'm also thrilled just in the act of writing.

    And @ Nicole: Thanks again for hosting this Blog Relay and for letting me take part!

  5. Cool Runnings comes to mind. It can, and does, happen :)

  6. Imagine being one of only two atheletes to represent your country! Did they enter all the events? The volleyball game would have been murder! Thanks for a great guest post, Chris.

  7. Chris - did you hear that the tiny nation of Grenada won its first medal today?! I'd say you brought them luck. ;)

  8. @Heather: Yeah -- exactly! ;^)

    @Roland: Lol! I'm pretty sure it's just one or only a few events per athlete. This year there were 302 events (according to Wikipedia, so it's gotta be true)! Thanks for the kind words!

    @Nicole: That's awesome! Yay for the underdog!!!! And I'll take it as a good omen for my on writerish quest for 'gold' too. ;^)

  9. I like the way you think, Chris. :) It can sometimes be disheartening to plug away in obscurity, wondering if anyone is ever going to be interested in what you do. But you know how people say it's an honor just to compete? That's what I try to focus on. On good days I remember that the glory's in the writing, not the "gold."

  10. Wishing you every bit of success! Never give up, never surrender!

  11. Aloha,

    I've never thought of it this way, but you're right!

    Stephen King/J.K. Rowlings are the U.S. and U.K and we're like little Nauru :)

    But, as we compete, we'll get stronger and one day we might get to stand up on the podium :)

  12. @Jes: Thanks! And you're right -- there is great honor in just making the effort and finishing the race (or book or story).

    @Amy: Thank you very much! I appreciate your kind words, and I wish you great success also!

    @Mark: Aloha to you, too! May you find yourself on that podium!