The summer Olympics are a model of hope for peace around the world
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 email@example.com.