Olympics promote world peace and unity
by ALLISON CRYER
To me, the modern Olympic Games represent more than just athletic achievement. The Games are important because they are a competition not only among athletes, but among us all.
Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, understood that Games had the potential to inspire peace and a sense of belonging among world citizens.
“May joy and good fellowship reign, throughout the world,” he said. “May the Olympic Torch pursue its way through the ages, increasing friendly understanding among nations, for the good of humanity always more enthusiastic, more courageous and pure.”
The Games build unity in our world, allowing each nation’s population a chance to share in the experience of supporting both their country and their teams. Olympic season is a time when we can root for the home team without violence or hate.
The Games also provide a safe place, where people from differing cultures can compete fiercely on the playing field, and where the losers can sincerely congratulate the winners once the battle is over. The Olympics also provide a neutral gathering place in our world where citizens can show loyalty and pride that does not harm or oppress others.
We all share the desire to belong to something. For only a few weeks every couple of years, we can all share in the success of our country’s team. We can all feel joy when one of our favorite athletes takes home the gold or beats a world record. We also suffer right along side our country’s team when they meet with failure.
The Olympic Games can motivate us work harder to reach our full potential. Watching other humans who are stretched to beyond their capabilities inspires us all to be better and try harder. When an athlete overcomes adversity to win the race, we feel like we have won too. The Games remind us that all human beings have to power to push themselves beyond limitation.
In the end it is not about sports, the fanfare or media coverage. The Games are really about bringing people together around something positive. Even nations of people divided by conflict or crusades are able to peacefully put those differences aside, if for only a few weeks. The Olympics provide the most accurate vision for a peaceful world that we can fathom in our era.
So to all of you who have been whining about how the Olympic season interrupts your television program or newsfeed, I say: stop being so serious and let yourself get caught up in a moment. This opportunity to showcase the best of mankind only happens once every two years. Just let go and appreciate the goodwill that the Games promote. Share in the dream many of us have of a successful and competitive world citizenship, interacting peacefully and with integrity.
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