Rakesh Ranjan (India) on Olympic Values for the 21st Century and Their Realization

August 27, 2012

In the twenty-first century, the Olympics stand for peace and prosperity. When the competitive spirit of people is employed at a sporting event of this quality, they realize where they can make the best use of their skills. That is how their energy is channeled into a healthy activity. The conglomeration of athletes from all parts of the globe brings the world to one place and makes people realize how they need to work together to make an event of this magnitude successful. No nation is less powerful than another, as every sportsperson has a fair chance of winning. Sporting skill is the only thing a person needs to make a mark on the world. When the world gets together for the event every four years, it is time to celebrate our brotherhood. Indeed, the only times the Games were not held were when humanity was at war against itself.
There are other events, too, which aim to promote these values in the world. But they will serve their true purpose only when they include more people from all segments of society. The distribution of wealth and knowledge is so uneven throughout the world, and despite the emergence of the developing block, a significant part of Earth is still suffering from unimaginable poverty and poor living conditions. The values of the Olympics can be truly realized only when we bring prosperity to those people. Education and culture can be effective media to realize the values associated with the Olympics. The idea is to promote equity and treat people of all types with the dignity they deserve. While we already have events for the physically disabled, we can bring in adequate inclusion by ensuring that the events have representation from people of all strata of society. No one should be at a disadvantage because of his or her economic condition or inclination to elements of sex and politics. Humanity should be given a chance to excel at these events.

Special efforts are needed to ensure that the “torch” of values goes everywhere and that the weakest and the poorest get a chance to showcase their skills. Such world events should truly represent the world. There is enough talent in the hinterlands that needs to be given a chance at the highest level. Only when all are represented at these events will they become truly “world-class,” leading to a superior world. A part of the Olympics budget should be reserved as help for poor nations to invest in their sportsmen so that they can become competitive, and the Olympic Association should invest more in developing sporting infrastructure at the grassroots level. No one should be unable to participate because of lack of money. The Olympics should be more about promoting these values than about nations trying to show sporting prowess.
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