Carmen Hofhuis (Australia) on Olympism - To Be Treasured and Respected By All

June 22, 2012

Olympism: is the realisation of the Olympic values, joy of effort, fair play, respect for others, pursuit of excellence, and balance between body, will, and mind treasured and respected by all, or not? The very reason these values need to be upheld and chosen as a worldwide standard is because they are not always treasured and respected.

For some they are taken for granted, for others they are not even part of their vocabulary, in any language. Abuse and misuse, treating others as second rate citizens, individuals thinking and acting as though they have more power than other: for some this is their normal way of life. The Olympic values are not respected by all.

For the disadvantaged and marginalised of society, those living in poverty where there is much famine and loss of life, and those marginalised for reasons such as homelessness, discrimination, disability, and health or mental health issues, these values may seem contradictory or out of reach. Each of these values can make a difference. All of them, including acting in the pursuit of excellence, respecting others, and considering fair play, an effort which is joyful and balanced between body, will, and mind, together can change a society. These Olympic values may be sporting values, but they are also social, spiritual, and personal values. If one has a pursuit of excellence and respect for others, one will display fair play and want the same for every individual in society. Everyone will be equal and not. As George Orwell wrote, “some are more equal than others.”

To realize the Olympic values in the years ahead I recall the saying adapted from Leo Tolstoy: “evil only triumphs when good people stand by and do nothing.” It is up to those of us who can to help those who cannot. I am a firm believer that the world can only be changed one person at a time. I am that one person. The Olympic values need to be respected, adhered to and followed, but most of all, the person who needs to adhere to them most is myself. Once I get a hold of them and live them out, through testing, trials, and temptation, then and only then can I expect another person to follow my example.

The realization of Olympism begins with my refusal to accept injustice. I cannot let another person suffer when I have an opportunity to make a difference, let poverty in a person’s life exist when I have the means to alleviate it, or let a person with a disability walk by unnoticed when I have an opportunity to stop and say hello. The more people in the world who understand this, share this, and communicate this, the more the Olympic values will cease to be values to be upheld but will become a way of life.

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