Tomas Momesso (Argentina) on the Olympic Games as a World Language

August 7, 2012

It is 2012 and once again the Olympic Games will be the opportunity for the whole world to come together. The Olympics’ spirit of competition and challenge will renew the values that sports bring to all: respect, excellence and friendship.
Immanuel Kant once said: “Always treat persons as ends in themselves, never merely as a mean to your own end.” Respect means treating someone with dignity, as you wish to be treated yourself. It is the first step in building a relationship. Nowadays respect is considered as a weapon of power and dominance over others, but indeed it can be used as a peace builder. Kant’s phrase may be applied to everyday issues. In sports, respect plays a fundamental role. Through fair play, athletes set an example to the world on how respect can lead you to a fulfilling life and excel in anything you wish to accomplish. But this is not an intrinsic characteristic of the human nature; it should be taught and developed. One of the best ways to teach it is through sport, as it possesses a universal language. Athletes learn and practice respect among them, not only on the playing field but off as well.

Respect should be supplemented with excellence. We must understand excellence as Aristotle did, we are what we repeatedly do... excellence, though, is not an act, but a habit. He highlighted the importance of respect and dignity and also that practice makes perfection. It is the ultimate tool to achieve eudemonia, which is happiness through a fulfilling life. Athletes are an example of effort and excellence, as well as of respect, which are high values for most young people who seek examples for their own lives. They are the proof that setting objectives and working hard lead to progress.

These two values could be summed up in friendship, which is relevant for mutual care and also world welfare; it is one of the most important social values. Through sports and competition one is able to see the other athlete as competitors but also as friends, with whom one shares a common interest and values. Sharing the Olympic Games drives people from all over the world together, reinforcing the idea that sports athletes speak a universal language and make understanding and overcoming differences possible.

Respect, excellence, and friendship not only are important values for sports, but also for the world’s progress and peace. Only through them we can achieve them, and the best way to transmit these values and let them permeate into society is through sport, starting with athletes setting the example. Sports is the universal language, it is the lead for a better future for the world.
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