Olympics: UNITY? Or Political Statements?

 The athletes have worked incredibly hard and sacrificed so much to have the opportunity to compete at the Olympics. But at the same time, the specialness of this event is that it is also a platform where the athletes compete not only as individuals but on behalf of their nations. This reality is a double edged-sword, brining both great pride and energy to the athletes and fans but also inviting discussion of social and political issues around the world.

Is this a good thing? Or does it allow issues to overshadow the sports competition?

Only you can decide your position but I vote a strong YES to believing it’s good to have arenas where politics and social issues are brought to the forefront but outside the regular space in which they are discussed. It brings more people into the discussion and forces people to be calmer in their discussions than when they are in designated arenas for arguing. I would much rather see us be faced with the realities of our arguments, rather than just the need to prove we are right. You see, it’s too easy to feel the compulsion in an argument to have to win….and in doing so, lose the real purpose of the fight.

So when we have places and events that allow us to discuss and act differently about important issues, we should. Two gay American athletes shared their stories and their frustration with the current administration’s positions on social rights. North Korea sent Kim Yo-Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister, as a representative of the nation. Additionally, North and South Koreans played together on the same team in women’s hockey. And athletes from around the world are getting to know each other and work together.

The nations that play together, learn to work together, and find ways to appreciate one another’s differences and talents.

Global stability is enhanced by increased global connections.

Thus, these events, and even the political and social issues they highlight, are enormously important and impactful to the progress of our world community.

Photo by Charles Deluvio, “My Life Through A Lens, Jerry Yu

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