Riabko Kateryna (Ukraine) on Olympic Values in Modern Society

August 17, 2012

“A person should judge his success by the aims he sets.” When I first read this phrase on the internet, I was a little bit confused. Why does a person, born with enormous abilities to change the world, appraise his achievements just by desire to reach the aim? My interest to psychology has led me to the answer. Our brain produces colossal energy; there are no people with a shortage of this gift. The main cause of humans’ troubles is in our inability to contact reality. Three Olympic values—the wish to achieve excellence, need for friendship, and respect—are introduced in our nature and we intend to live in step with these principles. Unfortunately, they often become the subjects of fantasies and theorization. In such a way, we get philosophical works, poetry, and a stock of quotations that are popular with readers but distant from real life. That’s why I don’t want to explain how good the values are. Let’s rather imagine a person who really possesses Olympic spirit. Let’s call him Champion.
The clock rings. How does Champion begin his day? Jogging? Having a shower and then eating healthy food? He’ll do it all, but a little bit later. Champion’s nature is revealed with his first thought. There is an edifying story. Once upon a time, there lived an old man, loved by all people in his town. Nobody saw him depressed or angry. A young boy, interested in this phenomenon, asked him how he managed to stay in a cheerful mood for his entire life. The old man answered: “When I wake up, I’ve got a choice between sorrow and bliss. And I prefer bliss.” And our Champion acts the same, but he confirms his desire to reach success by concrete affairs. He makes his body strong; he works hard, and he accepts obstacles as possibilities to become more experienced. Champion combines positive thoughts with actions, like the pilot combines the plane’s force with his knowledge in technique.

Respect, the next Olympic value, means not just acceptance of people as they are. As the well-known author Anton Chekhov said, the good person feels discomfort about doing things wrong even in front of the dog. To respect means to appreciate everything that is given to us and repaying it by doing business as excellent as is possible. And respect is strongly connected with friendship. This brings to mind Shavarsh Vladimirovich Karapetyan, the great swimmer who helped save dozens in a streetcar accident in 1976. When he was asked about motives of his actions, he said: “I was the closest…” Being closer to people is the only vaccine for the society infected by individualism.

The Olympic Games show us the example of what people should be. We cannot change the world during one day, but if every person made an attempt to realize the Olympic values in life, I believe the gods of Olympus would be envious of such a society.
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