Mental Health

2022 Olympics: Where We Go From Here

2022 Olympics:  Where We Go From Here
Published: 2022-02-09
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After the massive suffering during First World War 1914 -1918 and the Spanish Flu epidemic that killed 50 million people worldwide the League of Nations was founded in 1919 and disbanded in 1946.

Only 26 years later, after the Great Depression, the Second World War (1939-1945) started by Hitler's Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan the United Nations was formed.

Establishing the United Nations was a continuing idea of nation-states cooperating and resolving differences after the League of Nations was disbanded.   Many leaders realized they could help eliminate massive suffering after the two world wars that modern war brings to us humans in the 20th century.  Again in 1946, national leaders, driven by Eleanor Roosevelt wife of the late President Roosevelt created the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization of nation-states, with many social and cultural dimensions.

Sport is the singular human activity that literally and symbolically connects our world's peoples, cultures, and societies, reflecting the United Nations' vision and mission.

The current Olympic Games are a reflection and expression of the world's various cultures, societies, and nation-states via athletic and human excellence.  Like the United Nations the Olympics stand for a larger humanistic vision, to couple sport and societies via expressing non-violent athletic competition, that-means not killing other humans.

And, yes, the current Olympic Games, like long ago, can bring cultures, societies, and peoples into in relationship within our world culture. 

Athletes United for Peace (AUP) is a United Nations charted organization founded by my friend, Phil Shinnick, two time Olympian and world record holder in the long jump, is a United Nations affiliated organization.

There is are lessons to be learned about the Olympic Games:

For 1200 years the ancient Greek 100 city-states, territories, and peoples came together for the Olympic Games every four years.  Keep in mind there was continual warfare among the various city-states. 

What emerged was the idea that a ‘sacred truce’ the ekecheira, meant cessation of all hostilities and could be enforced, so the Games could happen.  The month before the Games began ‘official truce heralds’ called spondophoroi visited various city-states carrying “The Truce Discus’, a real discus, inscribed with letters, announcing the ‘sacred peace’ was to begin before and after the end of the Games. 

So, for three months of peace, every four years spectators, athletes, trainers, citizens throughout Greece had safe passage to and from their homeland to Olympia to witness and participate in the Games and no war.  Thousands of people traveled to Olympia to witness and participate in the Games.

The Olympic Games were the major festival honoring Zeus, including, music, plays, philosophical debates, the arts, and trading, all centered within the athletic contests within the Games. 

Athletes were closeted a month before the games, for hard training, spiritual practices, fasting, diet, all components of the strict, elite standards for participating in the games.  Athletes who were not capable could not participate in the Games – ‘they were cut’, in modern parlance.  Selection was very tough, just the best athletes were allowed to compete in the Games

And we know, now, in the year 2022, human contact and right relationships across the globe will be essential for our human survival – many people see a major pivot point in world history.  To be blunt, we can thrive as a species or not.  Nature, global heating, rampant human population growth, and its consequences for Life on Earth will not wait for no man or woman.

How we can come together as a species, as humanity, to foster the next evolutionary leap, as an optimist on balance, will be positive, yet we know are also there will be very tough times ahead. 

Sport and athletic competition is really about seeking excellence.

The current Olympics is an event, athletic activity, and also a powerful symbol, a means of 'coming together as human beings, and is being displayed for billions of people across the globe.

We can start from here, seeking excellence, body, mind, and soul, and togetherness a tenet of the Evolutionary Sports Collective.