The sum­mer Olympics are a model of hope for peace around the world

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - OPINION -

We all can learn from the 2012 Olympics in Lon­don. An es­ti­mated 10,500 ath­letes came to be part of the great­est gath­er­ing of young peo­ple in re­cent years. If some­one came from an­other planet and watched those smil­ing, ex­cited ath­letes walk with their friends in that open­ing cer­e­mony, the ob­server would never be­lieve that older lead­ers of some of the nations rep­re­sented were talk­ing about wars, in­va­sions and en­forc­ing re­stric­tions on peo­ple walk­ing in that Olympic Parade of Ath­letes.

The open­ing cer­e­mony on July 27, 2012, brought hours of ex­cite­ment for the par­tic­i­pants and for the bil­lions watch­ing the “Isles of Won­der” put to­gether by artis­tic di­rec­tor Danny Boyle. As the ath­letes marched in to the cheers of ev­ery­one, the Greek team came first as it does in the Olympics. They were fol­lowed by the other coun­tries in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der and the fi­nal team to en­ter, as is done ev­ery four years, was the host coun­try and in the Sum­mer Olympics of 2012, it was Great Bri­tain.

There were 204 coun­tries march­ing around the sta­dium al­though world es­ti­mates in­di­cate the true num­ber of coun­tries on our planet is un­cer­tain. There have been 15 new coun­tries from just the USSR alone since 1991. Yu­goslavia dis­solved into five in­de­pen­dent coun­tries in the 1990s. How­ever, many ter­ri­to­ries and colonies, which are not de­fined as coun­tries, were rep­re­sented.

Most peo­ple watch­ing did not know where the Sey­chelles are lo­cated. These are is­lands off the eastern coast of Africa sur­rounded by the In­dian Ocean. The Sey­chelles, is the small­est African coun­try. An­other African na­tion is Sao Tome` and Principe, lo­cated off the western coast of Africa in the At­lantic Ocean. This is the sec­ond small­est African coun­try.

As the coun­tries en­tered the sta­dium, start­ing with Afghanistan and end­ing with Zim­babwe, ev­ery­one was happy. Does it re­ally mat­ter if those march­ing in the sta­dium did not come from a coun­try? All of them who came were happy and ex­cited to be in a sta­dium in Lon­don at the Olympics. Just watch­ing all those ath­letes made the ob­server be­come over­whelmed with hope that the young gen­er­a­tions will put friend­ship above po­lit­i­cal forces.

The tiny places on our globe have a lot to be proud of. In 1997 and 1998, the Miss World Beauty Pageants were held in the Sey­chelles. And oil has been lo­cated in the sea near Sao Tome` and Principe. Other coun­tries such as Benin, Burk­ina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Zam­bia are lo­cated in Africa and were rep­re­sented.

The day, July 27, 2012, was the open­ing games cer­e­mony of the Sum­mer Olympics. The Olympic Sta­dium was il­lu­mi­nated, and in the fi­nal event, one of the torch­bear­ers ig­nited the 205 cop­per ped­als of the Olympic caul­dron. As in pre­vi­ous Olympics, the Olympic torch ar­rived from Greece. In the 2012 Olympics, the torch came from Greece and was re­layed over 70 days and car­ried by 8,000 peo­ple.

Ev­ery four years, the young arise like wa­tered plants in a gar­den. Of course, ob­servers re­al­ize that only young, strong and de­ter­mined ath­letes com­pete. The en­tire event with days of com­pe­ti­tion is an in­spi­ra­tion to the young of our planet. If only they didn’t have to deal with the pol­i­tics, ha­tred and wars when they re­turn to their na­tive coun­tries.

Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man can be reached at tcgn@mont­

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