As a child, I spent hours peering over the inside covers of Le Petit Larousse which presented a mosaic of the nations’ flags. I mused over their colors, symbols, and respective names. No wonder the Olympic games fascinate me! They gather nations for a few weeks of epic spectacular human achievements… and show the diverse colors endorsed by the athletes. But what do these colorful emblems reveal? First, the pride of a people who forsake, for a moment, disputes with other nations. What if the Olympics served as a model on a larger scale?
Olympics: The Harmony of Differences
What if this gathering of the world’s nations yielded more than medals and friendly rivalries? What if it led us to discover that we win more in uniting than in confronting each other? If the principal stake of the Games remains competition, the Olympic spirit celebrates, on a larger scale, respect for differences. Differences in strategies and styles, but most importantly, in cultures. To each country, its particular approach. But to all, the desire to uncover and fasten common links, on the rink or in the pool, in short track or marathon.
If two Koreas can unite under the same flag to welcome the world in their peninsula, why can’t the Olympic spirit endure beyond the brevity of the event?
Of course, each country must cope with issues that sometimes clash between nations. However, accepting cultural differences is a challenge everyone can learn to understand, cultivate, and appreciate. Under its flag emblazoned with multi-colored interlaced rings, the Olympics propose a model of universality where difference finds its place in all conviviality. Can we imagine such a cultural model in a broader context? Can we conceive that by accepting cultural differences – be it from nations, genres, professions or generations – we can build a world where peace and harmony reign?
Let us hope the Olympic model inspires beyond the Games!