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Fourth-Place Medal

Maya Angelou's poetry graced the 2008 Olympics

Maya Angelou, one of America's finest and best-known poets, died Wednesday at the age of 86. In 2008, she wrote a poem in honor of the Beijing Olympics titled "Amazement Awaits." The poem encompasses the best of the Olympics: unity of the human experience and triumph over strife and doubt.

"I commend you all, Americans and winners across the globe," she wrote on Facebook in 2012, "for what you do is win the human spirit and therefore we are all winners."

"Amazement Awaits"

Sheer amazement awaits
Amazement luxuriant in promise
Abundant in wonder
Our beautiful children arrive at this Universal stadium
They have bathed in the waters of the world
And carry the soft silt of the Amazon, the Nile,
The Danube, the Rhine, the Yangtze and the Mississippi
In the palms of their right hands.
A wild tiger nestles in each armpit
And a meadowlark perches on each shoulder.
We, the world audience, stand, arms akimbo,
Longing for the passion of the animal
And the melody of the lark
The tigers passion attend the opening bells,
The birds sing of the amazement which awaits.
The miracle of joy that comes out of the gathering of our best, bringing their best,
Displaying the splendor of their bodies and the radiance of their agile minds to the cosmos.
Encouragement to those other youth caught in the maws of poverty,
Crippled by the terror of ignorance.
They say Brothers and Sisters, Yes, try. Then try harder.
Lunge forward, press eagerly for release.
The amazement which awaits is for you.
We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.
With respect for the world and its people,
We can compete passionately without hatred.
With respect for the world and its people,
We can take pride in the achievement of strangers.
With respect for the world and its people,
We can share openly in the success of friends.
Here then is the Amazement
Against the odds of impending war
In the mouth of bloody greed
Human grace and human spirit can still conquer.
Ah … We discover, we ourselves
Are the Amazement which awaits
We are ourselves Amazement.

Angelou also wrote a poem in honor of President Clinton's 1992 inauguration, "On the Pulse of Morning:"

[Thanks to Larry Brown Sports]

 

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