With the World University Games now coming to a close, it’s the last chance for athletes and teams to win medals.
However, as some student-athletes get that first taste of success, some are facing their first failure.
It’s been a very good run for both the American men’s and women’s curling teams in Saranac Lake, just outside of Lake Placid, with the men taking home a silver medal Sunday, and the women taking bronze Saturday night.
Winning and losing is a big part of competition, but the biggest lesson is to never give up.
That’s exactly what one Olympic gold medalist is hoping to instill in a group of students he met in the very village hosting the event.
Four years ago in South Korea, Tyler George and his American teammates were dominating on the ice when they upset the mighty Swedish team and won the Olympic gold medal in Curling.
“It’s been four years and it still hasn’t sunk in yet,” George said. “Every time you see it, it’s almost like you are watching somebody else.”
Four years later, as Lake Placid is set to host the World University Games, George visited nearby Saranac Lake High School to not only promote the games but also the sport of curling.
And students got to actually that feel what’s its like to fulfill a dream.
“It’s definitely not something I’ve seen before from being from such a small town,” 10th grader Emily Gay said. “So this is really cool.”
Gay and some of her classmates were lucky enough to take part in that special program hosted by George.
Saranac Lake, just outside of Lake Placid, will actually be the host community for the World University Game’s curling events.
Not only did they get to relive George’s win, and hold that medal, but also learn a bit about the sport, and even give it a try.
It’s a day, a lesson, George says, that is about so much more than a sport.
In fact, the first three times he tried to qualify for the Olympic team, he didn’t make it.
It was the fourth time that was a charm.
“When you see the Olympics, you see the pinnacle, but you don’t see the failures and everything that came before that,” George said. “It’s learning that it’s okay to lose or fail or miss a shot, you have to get back up again and keep going.”
It’s something Gay, a hockey player at Saranac Lake, will never forget especially as she continues following her dream on the ice and in life.
“It definitely gives you that boost to want to do something yourself,” she said.
Of course, that message can hit home with the young at heart as well. George also spent some time with the Lake Placid Curling Club, where people of all ages live out their love of the sport.
“People get it everywhere else, not just where I’m from in Minnesota. It’s a really cool thing to see,” he said at the event.
People of all ages have dreams — and the one thing George says should never stop you from chasing them is just that — age.
One other really neat thing George told Gay before leaving the school was that when Emily reaches her dream of competing — and winning — at the international level — he just wants a few minutes to hold her gold medal.
Wouldn’t that be something?