AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
It's time now for your letters and we're going to stay with the Olympics. Last week, we talked with two people who have been there. Derek Brown competed in 1996 in Team Handball, finishing ninth. And Kate MacKenzie also finished ninth in Women's Pair Rowing in Athens in 2004.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Both athletes dedicated their lives to their sport, but neither achieved fame, glory or a medal. But MacKenzie told us that being a part of the Olympics is more than just the hardware.
KATE MACKENZIE: Sometimes you just have to remind people that - hey, you know, it's not about the medal, like Derek said. It's about the experience and wearing the colors and representing the United States as best you can with your performance and just being proud to be an American.
BLOCK: Well, Lee Rosenbloom(ph) of Chelsea, Michigan couldn't agree more. He writes that ninth place is nothing to sneeze at and he adds this.
CORNISH: (reading) Although it's probably not a consolation to not have finished first, it really is an accomplishment to train, prepare and qualify for the games. Judging by your interviews and accomplishments since the games, I'd say that you're likely to medal at being exemplary humans, which is more important.
BLOCK: And Joseph Haas(ph) of Taylor, Texas writes that our story brought back memories of his own - as he puts it - Olympic failure in 1985. He attended the Skills Olympics in Japan and took, as he says, a disappointing fourth place finish in industrial electronics. He goes on, while industrial electronics is not the media sensation that even the most obscure Olympic event enjoyed this summer, I was still left with feelings that echoed those expressed by Kate and Derek. Thank you for exploring, if ever briefly, those many who toil to reach greatness in spite of the risk of great failure.
CORNISH: Thanks for your letters. You can write us by going to NPR.org and click on Contact Us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.