The Olympics: A Show of Strength in Dark Times ?

The Olympics are considered the ultimate showcase of human power, where people with god-like talent can come and compete to bring glory to their nation. Since the ancient Greeks started the Olympics, the greatest and most prestigious athletes would come to honour their gods and goddesses with a range of talent and brute strength. Although the modern Olympics, which began in 1896, are not meant to keep the ancient Greek pantheon gods and goddesses, the athletes still try to bring a similar culture of honour back to their home country. By winning one of the coveted gold, silver, or bronze medals, athletes prove their worth to the world and show the power of their nations.

The terrific Coronavirus postponed this patriotic event for a year over concerns of people’s safety and the risks that come with a new deadly disease. While the Olympic committee pushed the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics back to this year, 2021, there are still concerns over the safety of the games. After years of health violations, displacements, and overspending, some of the more ostentatious journalists want to do away with the Olympics altogether. While reforms on the running of the Olympics is needed to protect citizens of host countries, the Olympics cannot and should not be cancelled or wholly removed.

Every two years, the world takes to their television sets, their smart devices, and news feeds so they can watch the most unforgettable summer and winter athletes in the world show unity and power in a sport that they train for quite devotedly. The Olympics are a show of light and greatness in a dark time when people are unsure of the future that awaits. While the Olympics exponentially further the cases for Covid-19, safety measures can prevent this risk if people follow the rules. Throughout the world’s modern Olympic history, the Olympics have slowly shown athleticism and countries’ politics and cultural practices.

After World War II, East and West Germany, as a show of brotherhood and unity, walked together and competed during the Olympics from 1956-1964. After 1964, the differences between the two countries could no longer be ignored, and it resulted in an athletic and political rivalry that resolved only after the Berlin Wall fell. Similarly, in 2018, North and South Korea, nations with opposite political beliefs and a bitter rivalry, walked together at the Olympics in honour of their shared history and as an attempt at diplomatic unity. Athletes and nations come together at these events to show unity and put aside their political differences and show their cultural pride.

In a world that is so wholly embroiled in the fears of tomorrow, the upcoming Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games are a way for the world to come together as one. These extraordinary athletes provide relief for ordinary citizens of the world to show pride and joy in the success of others. People cheer for athletes that they want to succeed, regardless of race, religion, or creed. All that matters in the Olympics are the success of your fellow countrymen. With people worldwide now receiving the Covid-19 vaccines, the Olympics are a chance to experience a bit of normality and a glimpse at a brighter future. The Olympics hosted in the country known as The Land of The Rising Sun only helps people imagine and embrace a brighter future, starting at this year’s Summer Olympics.

REFERENCES:

Blakemore, Erin. “A Divided Germany Came Together for the Olympics Decades Before Korea Did.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 12 Feb. 2018, www.history.com/news/a-divided-germany-came-together-for-the-olympics-decades-before-korea-did

LetsRun.com. “Why We Need the Olympics in 2021.” LetsRun.com, LetsRun.com, 25 Jan. 2021, www.letsrun.com/news/2021/01/why-we-need-the-olympics-in-2021/

Olsen, Henry. “Opinion | The World Needs the Tokyo Olympics. They Can and Should Go Forward Safely.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 26 May 2021, www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/26/world-needs-tokyo-olympics-they-can-should-go-forward-safely/

Streeter, Kurt. “It’s Time to Rethink the Olympics.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/04/12/sports/olympics/olympic-games-boycott-tokyo-beijing.html

Yachtingnut. “Why Are the Olympics Important?” Engineering Sport, 26 June 2012, engineeringsport.co.uk/2012/06/26/why-are-the-olympics-important/

Author’s note:

I  wrote about the Olympics because it is the largest sporting event in the world. For a brief moment in time, the world focuses on the success of others, rather than their own biases and national agendas. It is a chance for citizens to show patriotism and respect for others in a space designed to bring out the best in athletes. It is important to understand the worldwide impact that this event has and the opportunities it can give.

Madeleine Smith is a junior history major at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., United States.

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