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Olympic standards

The London Olympic Games have concluded, with all the accompanying pomp, pageantry, and of course, athletic competition.

The Olympic Games relay images of athletes striving to do their best to bring honor, as well as medals, to their country and themselves.

Each day, the newspapers updated their medals count, with the United States again coming out on top, and with our economic arch-rival and now Summer Olympics rival, China, right behind.

New American heroes emerged, including gymnast Gabby Douglas, aka the “Flying Squirrel,” and swimmer Missy Franklin, aka the “Missile.”

Swimmer Michael Phelps, track star Usain Bolt, the U.S. women’s soccer team, the women’s beach volleyball teams and both U. S. basketball dream teams again lived up to their respective reputations.

Lost in all the glory and images of chiseled athletes was controversy surrounding Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” ad campaign portraying a large, 12-year-old boy running down a rural road.

The boy, Nathan Sorrell from London, Ohio, may not be your Olympic ideal, particularly when comparing him to the lean and muscular types you see at the Games.

He is, however, trying his best, and that is the ultimate message.

A previous ad campaign by Nike stated simply, “Just Do It,” and that’s what Nathan is attempting, without fanfare or fancy workout gear.

Most of us can’t attain the look of an Olympic athlete. We all have different body types, and fate can and will deal a cruel hand to anyone.

A prime example is author and runner Jim Fixx, who wrote the 1977 book, “The Complete Book of Running.”

Fixx was widely acknowledged as the man who started the country’s fitness boom, and he popularized the sport of running.

Like Nathan Sorrell, Fixx was large for his size, having weighed 240 pounds when he started running at the age of 35.

Ironically, Fixx died at the age of 52 of a heart attack while taking his daily jog.

Everyone expressed shock that a man known as the guru of running would die of a heart attack.

Poetic justice?  I think not, but the message is clear in my mind.

We all can’t be the chiseled athlete or the willow-thin model. Some body types just won’t allow it, but we can try to do what it takes to be as physically fit as we can be.

We owe it to ourselves.

Nathan Sorrell may not be the Olympic ideal for some, but he should be a role model for all of us.