Jimmy Shaw (China) on Olympic Values That Inspire a Harmonious Life

August 29, 2012

As we all know, the Olympic Games have long been a global event, involving billions of people all over the world. So it’s quite easy for us to understand its fundamental role in promoting mutual understanding, friendship, and fair play. But as this event gets more commercial and entertaining, people fail to realize the essence of the Olympic values. In other words, people know it is our responsibility to promote mutual understanding, fair play, etc., but they don’t know why we are doing this, or what we can achieve by it.
As the Olympic Charter puts it, the Olympic values encompass “mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play,” as well as “social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” and non-discrimination, all “with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” We can easily conclude the four key words of the values, namely understanding, respect, fairness, and peace. But as time goes on, the essence of each value does not exist separately but in only one word, which can encompass the four things, and that is harmony.

Why do I think harmony is the core of the Olympic values for the twenty-first century? Why do I think harmony is more cardinal than other things? Why can harmony be a universal value accepted by people all around the world? We definitely need understanding, respect, fairness, and peace. But why do we need these things? Because these things are essential for us to develop a good life, or as I may put it, not just a good life, but a harmonious life where people relate to each other, where war never breaks out, and where discrimination no longer exists.

The Olympic Games are incomparable in transmitting these values to people worldwide. From the preparation to the competition, this global event has thoroughly implemented its values. The rigorous measures against doping taken by the IOC have let the world see the importance of fairness. And as participants gather in one place, they are on one hand competing with each other, and on the other hand learning how to interact harmoniously with each other.

The Olympic Games have set a great example for other public initiatives to spread the universal value. It is universally known that the twenty-first century is a time when the world is not dependent on everyone on Earth but rather on some people or particular superpowers. Therefore, it is significant for public initiatives to have global perspectives. Or more precisely, the public initiatives should try to relate people from different parts of the world, different races, different backgrounds, etc. With the advent of the Internet age, it is much easier for the sponsors to organize a global event in which participants from all over the world can get to know each other so as to promote harmony.

There’s an ancient saying in China: people should seek common ground while reserving differences so as to reach the great harmony. This is an age when the world has become a whole, when people worldwide have to work together if we are to create a better world. So it’s time for public initiatives to create a global stage where people would lay their armor down and interact with each other harmoniously.
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