The Best Thing About the Olympics

This is going to be a short since I already wrote about the Olympics last week. However, with the games ending this weekend, I think it’s fitting to say that I noticed some great things.

For every event I watched, I saw nothing but good sportsmanship, comradery and great competitive spirit. Healthy competition was at the heart of everything even when Michael Phelps was going up against Chad Le Clos in various swim meets (I don’t know what they call them. Swimming races just sounds a little weird).

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that the Olympics proceeded without a major scandal (other than the corruption associated with choosing for the games to take place in Rio), without an act of terrorism, which is a major win these days, and without significant controversy that took away from the athletes competing. I mean there were the Ellen DeGeneres/Usain Bolt ordeal, the Ryan Lochte robbery (which was a Lochte lie), the Brazilian crowd booing a French track and field competitor upon his receiving a silver medal and the Gabby Douglas national anthem mini-fiasco, but all of these stories put together didn’t take anything away from the athletic events that took place.

Never mind all of that though. The best part of the Olympics was watching competitors get ready at the starting line as they were about to compete. Watching them, I saw no difference between the athletes. I mean, of course they’re different since they all have unique features, but as far as human beings are concerned – habits, mannerisms, goals, desires – they were all the same. I assume they all went through the same grueling training process in an attempt to win a medal.

I was looking at each competitor on the line. I wasn’t looking at their skin or the flag on their chest and they all shared the same goal: being number one. Watching all these athletes from different countries compete made me realize that we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter if my ancestors grew up in a part of the world where the sun was beaming down on their skin and they had to adapt to survive. It doesn’t matter if your ancestors grew up in a place without the same sun and their skin pigmentation is different. There’s only one race. The human race and we’re all part of it. This fact is made clearer during the Olympics where athletes of all shapes, sizes and colours can line up behind the same flag to represent their country. On that level, one race isn’t better than the other because we’re all united in the quest of a common goal: metal (gold, silver or bronze), which reflects our patriotism. Why can’t we be united in every instance? Why can’t we live in a world where Michael Phelps and Simone Biles are equals and the only difference between them is the amount of medals they’ve won? That amount does not make one better than the other, but it simply makes one athlete more accomplished than the other.

I love the Olympics for enabling us to put race and ethnicity to the side and look at each other like people who not only are equals, but also peers united in more ways than we imagine.

It took me 32 years to even have this thought, but I hope more people come to this realization sooner.

Without wanting to be cheezy … peace and love, y'all.

written by Georje Wilden.


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