Jennifer Aduro (Nigeria) on Olympic Values as a Breath of Fresh Air

August 15, 2012

For about a century and a half, the Olympics has provided an avenue for peace-building among individuals through their love for sports, and has fostered relationships that cut across borders—from Africa to Australia, Asia to America, and Europe to the Middle East. The Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect, create room for inter-cultural and multi-racial unity and harmony, and also happen to be the building blocks of growth and development for any society. Since these values seem to be gradually fading away in today’s world, there is an immediate need to ensure we do not lose our identity.
To understand the meaning of these values in the twenty-first century, it is imperative we understand the need for them. In our war-stricken world where too often the average is accepted, it is near impossible to point out friends or beat the standard, yet it is just as important to have allies and leave our footprints in cement. These values bring a breath of fresh air to a world brimming with vices; they signify hope for all who envision better days.

One very productive way to translate these values into today’s society is the creation, by past and current Olympians, of foundations and clubs that preach and foster these values at the grassroots levels in their states and countries. Reaching out to the youth provides an avenue for ensuring the sustenance of peace. As they are in their formative years, they tend to hold tight to whatever beliefs are instilled in them, and what better values to instill than those that will ensure world peace? An international exchange program should also be created for the clubs so that after a specified period, beneficiaries of the program could meet with beneficiaries from other countries to exchange ideas and get positive exposure, and also better equip themselves to pass on what they have learned.

Respect is a very important aspect of most cultures around the world, which is lacking in today’s society. Respect for laws and authorities has been washed down the drain, so has respect for others’ values, beliefs, or principles. Moral studies should be inculcated into schools’ syllabi and taught in order to remind them there is a standard to uphold and compromise to discourage.

Finally, for the love of the Games, sporting events should be held in countries, and these events should be free and open to everyone. The participants could be divided into teams, with each team comprising members of different states or countries. This way everyone would be competing for a common goal and walking away from the experience with a better understanding of each other.

The Olympic values have provided a panacea for most of the pressing issues being faced by the twenty-first century generation. I hope people all around the world—black, white, Caucasian, Arabian, and every race and tongue—begin to cultivate them as only then would we have a clearer vision to gain the victory for world peace, growth, and development.
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