1. Sometimes, number 1 is biggest number there is.
Eleven countries in 2002 Winter Olympics were represented by a "team" of just one athlete. To these athletes, from countries like Cameroon, India, and South Africa, glory was not just competing for medals, but in representing their sport, and their countries with pride.
2. The leader of pack is not always winner.
There's a lot to be said for smooth, measured pace towards back as Australian Steven Bradbury knows: Trailing in 1000-meter qualifying race, he'd make it to finals after other competitors collided on track. Using same strategy in final proved effective, too. A similar collision took out competition in that race and Bradbury stepped off track as a Gold medalist (the FIRST winter Olympic gold medalist in Australian history).
3. We can't control what others think of us.
The pairs figure skating competition would prove that life, if nothing else, is very subjective. Jamie Salle and David Pelletier skated what many believed to be a gold-medal performance. The judges, however, awarded gold to Russian skaters Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze. The pair would later be awarded a "second" gold medal (and share gold medal award with Berezhnaya and Sikarulidze) but, judging improprieties or not, truth remains: You must be confident in your actions as you can't control what others will think.
4. It's better to focus on doing one's best than on being best.
Figure skater Sarah Hughes, in fourth place after women's short program, went into final program with smallest chance of winning a medal. Rather than focus on winning, she decided to go out, have some fun, and do her best, which she did. It was a remarkable performance that led to her winning gold medal.
5. "Down" doesn't mean "out"
Just a month before games, speed skater Chris Witty was diagnosed with mononucleosis, jeopardizing her participation in Olympics. Not only would she attend games, she won gold in 1000 meter race... AND set a world record while doing so.
6. Life is consistently inconsistent.
Much as we'd like each of our days to be calm and trouble-free, there are so many things beyond our control that this just isn't realistic. Ask Apolo Anton Ohno. A favorite for each of four speed-skating competitions he was entered in, Ohno would win Silver medal in a race he was easily winning until a few players bumped each other and "wiped-out." Then he would win Gold in 1500-meter race, after South Korean entrant was disqualified. In his third race, he would be disqualified. In his fourth race, he did not make it into finals. And that's life.