Music and the Spoken Word

Winners and Champions - Sunday, August 7, 2016

It’s been said that “life does not determine winners. Winners determine life.”1 Most true winners have “lost” at some point in life. They have been hurt and disappointed; they have experienced setbacks and sorrow, but they do not let these difficulties determine their destiny or define their lives. Instead, they strive to rise above their challenges and keep moving forward one day at a time. In fact, it is very often the defeats, just as much as the victories, that bring out the greatness in a true champion.

One reason we love sports so much is that they provide countless inspiring examples of this very truth. Grantland Rice, a legendary sportswriter from the previous century, spent more than 50 years observing and writing eloquently about the wins and losses, the triumphs and failures of great athletes. He wrote these words that have been paraphrased by parents and coaches so often that they have become a familiar motto of athletic competition everywhere:

When the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
He writes—not that you won or lost—but how you played the Game.2

Every two years the world gathers in celebration of sport to witness world-class athletes compete in the Olympic games. While the medal count is interesting to follow, what really grabs the heart are the personal stories of the athletes—their hard work, persistence, dedication, and teamwork. Every one, it seems, faced challenges that could have tempted them to give up and give in, but they discovered—as we all must—that the key to a winning life is to keep going.

Every Olympic athlete is a living reminder that if we can rise when we fall, pick ourselves up when life knocks us down, and continue on when it seems easier to quit, we will see in time that winning is not as much about talent or luck as it is about grit and perseverance. Winners and champions just keep trying. This thought is expressed well in the Olympic creed: “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”3

-Lloyd D. Newell

1. Marvin J. Ashton, “A Pattern in All Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20.
2. “Alumnus Football,” in William A. Harper, How You Played the Game: The Life of Grantland Rice (1999), 158.
3. In The Olympic Symbols, 2nd ed. (2007), 5.

August 7, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,534

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

All Creatures of Our God and King
German hymn tune; arr. Mack Wilberg

Peace Like a River
Spiritual; arr. Mack Wilberg

Gloria, from Mass in D, op. 86
Antonin Dvořák

Little David, Play on Your Harp
Spiritual; arr. Andrew Unsworth

Charles Chaplin; arr. Sam Cardon

Call of the Champions
John Williams