Shashank Harivyasi (India) on Bridging the Gap: Humanity and Olympism

September 4, 2012

Facts are eternal. Change is a law of nature. Contradictory? Not really. It is the relevance of these facts that changes with the flow of Thames River. So, what relevance do the Olympic values hold now in the twenty-first century?
Unfortunately, humanity is marred by issues worse than those that plagued it a century ago. Now, instead of world wars, we live under the ‘protection’ of nuclear missiles. Fellow human beings are famished and Mother Nature is unhappy.

But how is it that the Olympic Games, an event of organized sports, are a solution to these seemingly insurmountable problems? The Olympics, in essence, are much more than sports; they are a celebration of life that upholds Olympism.

The root of Olympism lies in cherishing the joy of effort. It simply means having gratitude for what one has and the joy of laboring to achieve more. But this is an attitude that cannot be taught to young children in classrooms. The learning of this concept is subtler: it is learned by following footprints and learning from the examples set by others. Hence it becomes the social responsibility of everyone in present times to set noteworthy examples for the next generation and engender respect for fundamental ethical principles in the young minds. The Olympics are a grand attempt at fulfilling this social responsibility.

The Olympics highlight the importance of these fundamental ethical principles: putting in effort for the joy it yields, fair play, rising above differences, and having an internationalist spirit alongside nationalism. These principles translate directly into respect for others—the basic tenant of Olympism. Here, others means men and women because the Olympic Games give a message, loud and clear: equal participation of women is necessary for a healthy development of humanity. There is no alternative in this regard.

A natural consequence of respect for others and their perspectives is friendship, which is another tenant of Olympism. Benefits of friendship are countless: peace of mind and body, development of individuals and their culture, and an understanding of the environment to form a deep sustainable bond with Mother Nature. In other words, the solidarity that such a friendship shall yield will lead the humanity to the zenith of excellence: excellence of humanity’s body in the form of its individuals who respect each other, excellence of humanity’s mind in the form of friendship they enjoy amongst each other, and excellence of humanity’s soul in the form of a beautiful and peaceful planet to call home.

Humankind already has the mantra of excellence in form of Olympism. The challenge is to take this sermon home. Annual Olympic Games for teens at national levels, animated movies and comic strips based on the upholders of Olympism for children, and the colorful Olympic rings as toy for toddlers: all this and much more can bridge the gap between Olympism and humankind.

In a nutshell, once Olympism is embedded in souls, it will lead the humankind to swifter progress and achieve higher exaltations on a stronger foundation. Humanity and Olympism will be Citius! Altius! Fortius!
comments powered by Disqus