Aimeé Schroeder (South Africa) on A Brief Analysis of the Significance and Implementation of the Olympic Values in the Twenty-First Century

August 17, 2012

The Olympic Movement caters to an increasingly diverse world. Values are of enormous significance in providing moral guidelines or principles as they are not limited by diversity but are rather universally applicable. The Olympic values can serve to unite all organizations and associations affiliated with the Olympic Movement under an analogous charter and manner of operation. In addition, the adoption of the Olympic values across the world can lead to a progressive, inclusive society that provides opportunities for positive growth and integrity-driven leadership to be established.
The Olympic values of respect, friendship, and excellence apply across a broad spectrum, perhaps none more so than respect.

Foremost when interpreting respect is to consider that it dictates how one acts toward others and also toward establishing a positive self. Self-respect—valuing the actions one takes, honoring ones beliefs, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle—is of course what is referred to. In addition, to respect is to act with reverence when communicating with others. This creates an environment that is capable of hosting an infinitely diverse group, able to sustain substantially varied dialogue and opinion.

To employ friendliness requires one to behave in a genial and kind manner. To strive for excellence is to be the best one can be; it inspires hard work and determination in order to achieve excellence by fulfilling one’s potential.

In order to see the Olympic values become more widely revered, it is essential for organizations and individuals affiliated with the Olympics to adopt these values on all levels, especially when establishing policy. There is a social responsibility to take advantage of the wide reach of the Olympic Movement. Those impacted by the Olympics should also be informed of the values, how and when they apply, and the significance of implementing value-driven thinking in sport, education, leadership, and social development.

In the short term this can be done by the prominent display of the Olympic values across a variety of media. As athletes have an extensive audience it would be beneficial to not only have them behave according to the values and as such serve as role models, but to also involve high-profile Olympians in print and especially online media campaigns. This is arguably the first time in the history of the Olympics that the reach of social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Weibo), is wide enough to influence a very extensive adoption of the Olympic values.

Additionally, long-term projects to educate the youth about the Olympic values, could most efficiently be implemented via sport as the groups affiliated with the Olympics are already intimately involved on grassroots levels in most sporting disciplines. The adoption of the values can be implemented in already established programs through coaches altering training programs and sports clinics to include the values.

To act responsibly with regards to the Olympic values would be to develop the understanding and awareness of the values as far and wide as possible. Value-driven decisionmaking and actions can truly make the world a better place.
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