The Olympics game has been an event held for every 4 years since 1896. It has then become a worldwide international sporting event with over 200 nations participate in a variety of summer and winter sports. Since its inception, people have watched athletes this phenomenon event countless times and continues to do so. Having watched all the Olympics since the Beijing 2008, I’ve noticed a crucial significant feature of the event. I saw that the Olympics is a time, every 4 years, where it brings people worldwide together without regards to any outside ideologies or conflicts. I was never into sports that much let alone the Olympics but I find myself embracing them nonetheless. I played sports like fencing and ice hockey, both of which are Olympic qualified sports and part of the reason I watch the event. However, I have peers who have never played sports yet still watch the games. I ask them and they’ve replied saying “everyone watches because of the excitement and enjoys it together like a family”. I theorized that sports and the Olympics are like entertainment for viewers worldwide and a time in every 4 years that unites the world to enjoy a society spectacle together in lieu of any ideologies such as religions, traditions, and cultures. With this, athletes and people can interact with each other regardless of any differences, making the Olympics a consequential moment. I think it is an important topic because with the 2018 Olympics just finished, a history of ideological inequality, and society conflicts, I feel that the Olympics is an event that erases those problems and allows people to be unified regardless of differences. Here, I want to know how does the Olympics bring the world together for unity and in this research, I’ll dive more into how the concept of unity is formed.
More in depth of this phenomenon spectacle, after the Olympics debuted in Ancient Greece 1896, it has slowly become a worldwide phenomenon. Each Greek city have athletes participate in these competitions, to simply strive for greatness, and more importantly it is considered a religious festival that promotes the concept of bridging different countries together to form a cultural understanding and global unity (Steinbach). As the event grow bigger, French educator Baron Pierre de Coubertin described the event as an instrument of peace, which lead the Olympics becoming an international event in the early 1920s (H. Liu). From there, more nations participated thus more athletes compete that continues to grow today. For instance, in comparison with the 2014 Winter Olympics, a total of 2,800 athletes participated from all over the world as oppose to the first winter Olympics with 258 athletes back in 1924 (Mackenzie). The ideals of the Olympics are recognized because it represents and celebrates the tone of optimism and peace of humanity. The event is a showcase of social importance, representing a unification of people from different nations where they permit the variety of religions, traditions, and cultures without any possible backlash (Savic). With this, the event has become a cultural phenomenon that is embraced by everyone in every nation. Athletes from all nations can be brought together without being affected by any negative ideological backgrounds including race and religion, allowing them to freely show off their expertise and embrace their cultures. In addition, the Olympic unification of the world could also serve as a symbol of a future without war and a world that is lived peacefully despite any differences (Lillianstrom).
After diving deeper into the importance of the Olympics, the question that remains is how the event forms the unification that is described countless times. There are several theories that explains the Olympics has formed this unification. One, however, remains the main reason it is formed. The world is in desperate need of peace. Though there are people in every nation not seeking peace due to differences, there are just as many long hoping for it. For instance, during the Rio 2016 Olympics, it was the first event that featured a team of war refugees. All have lived through the terrors of war camps and long for peace in the world. The 10 of them have all expressed gratification from simply participating. One of them, refugee turned athlete Yiech Pur Biel had this to say when he finished last place in the men’s 800m race, “I can show to my fellow refugees that they have a chance and hope in life”. Even though Pur Biel finished last, he expressed that he is now part of a bigger family and found peace in the world that was once consumed by war (Joseph). The refugee team have since received the loudest cheer from audience. This shows that the Olympics provides opportunities for those with horrific background to show that they too want peace and that not everyone from wars are closed-minded by it. From participating, it shows the world that even those who were caught in war also want peace. Envisioned with this similar desire, the Olympics provides a place that unifies the world to share this desire and in the perspective of the war refugees, their wish for a world free of war, be part of a larger family, and to have hope again.
Additionally, Pope Francis has also conveyed the same desire for worldwide peace. He acknowledges the Olympics as the solution to achieve it. He has expressed that the world is thirsty for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. For that, he hopes the Olympics unites the world together for a “good fight” among athletes and have mutual interactions among audiences (Wooden). This “good fight” concept promotes the three values of the Olympics which are the Strive for Excellence, a Demonstration of Respect, and Celebration of Friendship. All crucial to the establishment of peace and to unify the world (De Coubertin). In addition, Pope Francis described the Olympics as one large family consisting people with different ideologies and hopes that this would contribute the need of peace as everyone enjoys the event in unison. Furthermore, Pope Francis expressed that sports itself allows for coexisting cultural interactions.
Aside from peace itself, many athletes have expressed different reasons that the Olympics unite the world together. The first one is that the event gives people a reason to believe. Nowadays, there are constant struggles including economy, war, terrorism, and poverty. Since the event brings the world together, it gives people the courage to believe that we all can unite and fix these problems. A second reason is that it provides a motivational urge. Watching the event together as a whole, seeing people from different countries cheer for the athletes motivates non-sport people to do more for themselves because they are giving the feeling that the world supports them. Lastly, it eliminates any modern society problems by bringing family together. Bring the world together is like bring one giant family together. This intention is also achieved by simply bring individual families together. Nowadays, technology has become almost a mandatory, part of life sort of object that is owned by everyone just to achieve simple tasks such as communication, shopping, and education. With the Olympics, as stated that it brings the world together, it also brings individual families together to enjoy the event together like an actual family, stopping them from being consumed by the features of technology. By bringing them together like this, families are given the chances to interact like an actual family. Altogether, the Olympics provides the world the attributes it needs that is mostly possessed by athletes. These attributes include teamwork, motivation, growth, and more that inspires the world to strive for.
Summarizing everything, the Olympics means more than just what is it established for. It is a place that houses every attribute and is formed based on what is important for the world that unifies them together. It’s a place where athletes and people from different nations can interact with each other regardless of their ideologies like culture, religion, background, beliefs, and more. This allowance enables the spirit of peace to be felt by the world that is dominated by numerous issues including war, terrorism, society, politics, and more. In the perspectives of the athletes, they are given the opportunity to compete with other nations in a friendly competition. In addition, they display the spirit of life attributes at its finest including teamwork, motivation, growth and more, in hopes to inspire every sport and non-sport people to do more with their lives. In the perspective of people and world, it helps in many ways not only sport-related. Now in the 21st century, it is a society that is inhabited by technology. People nowadays have resorted to using technology for many of their daily tasks including communication, purchasing, and education thus stripping away all the natural human interactions. With the Olympics and the inspiration from the athletes, people are drawn away from technology to enjoy the event together. As Pope Francis described, the Olympics is the prime solution to push aside different cultures, backgrounds, and allow a worldwide interaction. Athletes alike can advance their skills in friendly competitions while free to embrace their respective cultures and without fear of negativity. Lastly, in the perspective of people with war background, it gives them two opportunities. The first is that they are given the chances to escape the horrors of war. This allows them to participate and to have hope that there is still peace in the world when there are lots of conflicts. In the end, the Olympics form this unique world unification by basing off any worldly negativities and the basic human nature that is lost in today’s generation. So, after a much thorough research into the unity of the Olympics, has it really achieved it since its inception?
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The Real Story of the Ancient Olympics Games. Retrieved from: https://www.penn.museum/sites/olympics/olympicorigins.shtml
Mackenzie, Hannah. (2014, February 18). How the Olympics ring countries together. Retrieved from: https://prezi.com/hewapme0uig7/how-the-olympics-bring-countries-together/
Steinbach, Alison. (2016, April 26). Competition, Cooperation, and Cultural Entertainment. The Olympics in International Relations. Retrieved from: http://hir.harvard.edu/article/?a=13196
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Joseph, Rebecca. (2016, August 21). Rio 2016: How did the Refugee Olympic Team do?. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/2881375/rio-2016-refugee-olympic-team-how-are-they-doing/
Wooden, Cindy. (2016, August 3). The Olympics bring us together as ‘one human family’, says Pope. Retrieved from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/08/03/the-olympics-bring-us-together-as-one-human-family-says-pope/
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The Olympics Game. Retrieved from: https://www.history.com/topics/olympic-games