More and more stories are coming out of the Beijing Olympics highlighting the courage and resolve of the women of the world.

Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania, a 38-year-old mother, was the triumphant gold medal winner of women’s marathon in Beijing. Four years ago in Athens she had to relinquish her dreams of an Olympic medal at mile 20 due to heat exhaustion. But even then she did not completely quit. She walked for a mile, then started running again, coming in 20th in the 2004 competition. This time she was determined to win the race. She practiced and practiced in hot weather, firmly focused on avoiding another injury. So when you feel like giving up on your dreams, think of Constantina as a role model: learn from your failures, work hard to achieve your goals, don’t surrender.

Another mother, 33-year-old Oksana Chusovitina, took the silver medal for Germany in individual women’s vault. Older than most of the other gymnasts by ten years, Oksana had participated in four previous Olympics, winning a team gold. Her team at that time consisted of athletes from the former Soviet Union. What brought her to Germany at this stage of her career? Her 9-year-old son, Alisher, who has been treated in Germany for leukemia for the past 6 years. When Alisher was first diagnosed as a three-year-old, Oksana could not get treatment for him in her native Uzbekistan. Not one to be stopped by the challenges she faced, she and her husband moved to Germany to train while he was being treated there. Oksana demonstrates her commitment to family by competing for Germany today.

Sisters Venus and Serena Williams demonstrated another face of womanhood as they won the gold medal in women’s tennis doubles. Their joy in playing together was evident as they breezed through their matches. While they generally play singles in their careers, the women said that they had looked forward to working with one another as a doubles team. For two very competitive women, it was a welcome opportunity to cooperate and celebrate family as well as their individuality. As Venus said, complimenting her sister, “I was literally born with a doubles partner. She never minds if I miss a shot or two.” Serena echoed the same sentiments, “I don’t know anyone who would get tired of playing with Venus Williams.” So, sisters of the world, unite!

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