I love the Olympics. No, really, I LOOOOVE the Olympics! I have for a while, but just this week – on the cusp of the Vancouver games – I’ve been thinking about why.
Back when the Greeks first held the Olympics, there was a “rule” of sorts that wars ceased during the games. No politics allowed. The games were all about people putting aside their differences and disagreements for a while, coming together, and having a good time playing games and competing. Sadly, this is not the case any more. But the spirit remains.
To me, the Olympics are a shadowy reflection of heaven. Other than Jesus, what else has the power to unify people from hundreds of tribes, tongues, and nations? Coming together to play games!!!
Did you know that in the early 1900s Tug of War used to be an Olympic event? And you could have mixed teams – people from multiple countries competing on one side? “I’m from Denmark, you’re from Sweden, let’s pull this rope together – what do you say?”
Just look at the Olympic rings. They represent people coming together, each ring representing a continent – Europe, Asia, Africa, Austrailia, and the Americas.
It saddens me to see countries like the United States place so much emphasis on medal counts. Or maybe that’s just Americans media… And flashy events like figure skating and gymnastics are much more likely to be televised than curling, judo, badminton, and handball – even though THOSE athletes are JUST as proud to represent their country and have worked just as hard to get to the Olympics. Or maybe they’re just not televised because the US doesn’t win many medals there.
It thrills me, though, to see small, poor-er countries that send only a handful of athletes (or one) who know they have probably no chance of taking home a medal. But look at their smiles when they walk into the opening ceremonies. Those faces glow the brightest with the delight, joy, and pride the athletes have to represent their country and be given an opportunity to experience this great occasion called the Olympics.