The Olympics shouldn't be solely a celebration of athleticism - it should be about highlighting the strength and beauty of the human spirit. In honor of the first week of the Winter Olympics, here are the most inspirational and heartwarming stories, events and people to come out of Sochi so far.
Skier Saves Stray Puppies
When American skier Gus Kenworthy isn't competing on the slopes, he's helping save the lives of stray dogs wandering around Sochi that would otherwise be culled. Kenworthy has provided food, made vaccination appointments and lined up kennels for a group of puppies that are almost as adorable as he is.
Luger Loves Beyoncé
American competitor Kate Hensen nailed a spot in Sochi for her skills on the luge, but it's her unconventional warmup routine that has really got the world's attention. Kate gets ready to race by dancing to a Beyoncé playlist, and isn't shy about showing off her moves in public. "Honestly, in my world, I don't care who's staring," the 21-year-old said. "I'm still going to dance."
Russian Skier Gets a Leg Up from Canada
Russian cross-country skier Anton Gafarov was just a minute-and-a-half into the men's sprint free semifinals race when he fell and broke his ski. He tried to continue, but it was a fruitless mission - until Canadian coach Justin Wadsworth ran out with a replacement ski so he could "have dignity as he crossed the finish line," he said.
Alex Bilodeau's Heartfelt Dedication
After winning a gold medal, Canadian skier Alex Bilodeau dedicated the win to his idol -- older brother Frederic, who was born with cerebral palsy. "Every step is so hard for him in life and I have an easy path and I need to go after and do the best I can just out of respect to him," he said, after giving a huge bear hug to his brother who was watching in the crowd. "He is my everyday inspiration."
Erin Hamlin Makes History
Erin Hamlin, 27-year-old three-time Olympian, became the first American to earn an Olympics medal in singles luge on Tuesday! She took home the Bronze with a four-run total of 3 minutes, 21.145 seconds, and she looked awesome doing it.
Shaun White Shares the Love with Kids In Need
After qualifying for the Olympic finals on Tuesday, the superstar snowboarder left the slopes to give two young cancer patients a hug and some high-fives. The moment was not lost on the rest of us.
Speed Skater Gives Up His Spot for a Teammate
Canadian speed skater Gilmore Junio gave up his highly coveted spot in the speed skating competition Wednesday to his teammate Denny Morrison, who had injured his leg during trials and went to Sochi as a reserve. Denny is a veteran skater at the top of his game, and Gilmore willingly gave up his position in the hopes a victory would be in store for their country. It was! Denny earned the silver medal in the 1,000 meters event!
Snowboarder Gets Sweet Letter from a Young Fan
After earning gold in the Slopestyle's inaugural Olympic event, Jamie Anderson had another big surprise waiting for her from a 7-year-old fan. Leanne Phan, a second-grader in California, wrote Jamie a letter telling her how proud she was of the Olympian, and sending Jamie a good luck penny that proved to be truly fortunate! The snowboarder was so taken aback by the letter, she tweeted Leanne a note with the photo of the note, saying, "The most precious letter from a little girl named Leanne." Snail mail is still the way to go, kids!
More of the Good News:
Internet Helps Send Jamaican Bobsled Team to Sochi
Here's a Great Way to Support Gay Athletes and Equality at the Olympics
Strangers Help Raise Funds for Parents to See Daughter Compete in Sochi