David E. Natarén (Honduras) on Using Olympism as a Mean for Development

August 3, 2012

The world is a macro scenario where all species have to coexist without endangering the planet to ensure the future of life on it. Humanity is at the top of the pyramid of life as we know it since we possess what other species do not: reasoning.
With this differentiation, humanity has identified and defined desirable behaviors for every individual to enhance and preserve peace among us. Through history, we have called this set of beliefs values. They exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.

Those values have been guiding our lives in all aspects, including sports. It is precisely in sports that the three pillars of the Olympism—excellence, friendship, and respect—have been passed from one generation to the next. This has created an image of the Olympics in which more than a simple competition is involved. I see it as the event where professional competitors meet to make their best performance as an attempt to prove that they deserve to compete with the best of the world. Moreover, every competitor feels committed to the sense of fair play that creates a bond of respect among each other. By the fulfillment of these two values, trust is built among them, leading to a feeling of friendship.

Even more important than the values themselves are the further applications that they might have in our everyday life. Two aspects of Olympism resonate particularly strongly with me: “mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play” and “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” As described in these two conceptions, Olympism has defined a situation where all of us, as inhabitants of the planet, can coexist and make our society flourish.

The primary problem with the Olympism philosophy is that it is currently expressed most visibly during the Olympics—the main sporting event in the world. I think we need a strong campaign attached to national education systems where these values are instilled in every child of the world to ensure that they are committed to change the world as we know it today. By making children involved in the campaign, humanity can be sure that a brighter future awaits. The curriculum should include cultural adaptations in every country that could address different situations where the children can be exposed to ethical dilemmas. To make this program happen, it is necessary to have an inclusive and supranational and non-political organization to manage it.

By the use of the three pillars of Olympism the world will inevitably move toward a more prosperous future: humans will make things happen in more effective and efficient ways, society will consider and include every single individual, discrimination will be eliminated, and moreover, humanity will have ingrained the need to help the most economically disadvantaged. This prosperous future will make development happen in every corner of our planet.
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