Jimmy Manyanga (Zimbabwe) on Using Olympic Values Education to Promote Global Unity

June 11, 2012

The Olympic Games have ‘a magnetic something’ that brings the world together. However, they are incomplete without respect, excellence, and friendship, the three core Olympic values. They define who we are, combining our body, will, and mind.

The Games are a time when we set all our disparities aside and embrace the short moment of oneness through respect for universal fundamental principles. These include fair play, knowing our limits, taking care of our health and the environment, respecting ourselves, and respecting each other’s opinions and views. For a short time, we emulate what an ideal world looks like, and what a great people we are.

In the 21st century, Olympic values blend sports with culture and education. People from all regions, cultures, and abilities converge to celebrate the ultimate global event. Proper awareness of the Olympic values inspires young people to love sport. It promotes excellence, self-esteem, and encourages one to maximize efforts on the field or in life according to one’s ability for the betterment of the society.

The International Olympic Committee and other organizations should cooperate in facilitating high quality global Olympics education. This can be achieved through integrating Olympic values into the education system, international interactive programs, the media, and even sport scrimmages among children and families. Olympic athletes can be a central part of this effort.

Education in Olympic values should extend to the underprivileged around the world, as the Olympics are an inspiration to youth and underdogs. It is sad looking at some of my peers with tremendous, yet untapped, talents. Governments and civil societies should work with the Olympic movement to redouble efforts to communicate the basic values of respect, excellence, and friendship. As part of this effort, Olympians should visit underprivileged communities to motivate young people. Awareness of Olympic values encourages passion and perseverance and a knowing that the sunrise of tomorrow brings new opportunities.

Despite the Olympics providing a stage for the expression of international rivalry, the Games offer a platform to cultivate international peace and tolerance. Olympic values invoke mutual understanding, sympathy, empathy, honesty, mutual understanding, compassion, trust, and positive reciprocity in participants, national leaders, and billions of people, while celebrating our differences on common ground. Nations put aside their political differences. Athletes form lifetime friendships. Citizens celebrate together.

The 21st century has been marked by improved awareness of the Olympic values, but still more work needs to be done. Concerted educational efforts can help to bring the world closer together.

comments powered by Disqus