On July 27, 2012, More than 10,000 athletes representing 250 nations are going to gather in London for the thirtieth edition of the modern Olympic Games. London 2012 is poised to be one of the most anticipated summer games in many years both, in terms of the athletes’ expected performance, and the United Kingdom display of national pride. These games cannot come at a better moment for the British nation. At a time when most of the European Union is struggling with its economic issues that can, potentially jeopardize the entire unity of the continent, the U.K. have the opportunity to symbolically tell the world that Europe, although presently not doing so well, has the deliberate intent and the spirit to fight its problems and overcome them. The U.K. can, indeed be seen as being the leader Europe needs to move towards a better future. The Britons, considering that their country, although part of the EU, has not adopted its currency, can become the reluctant heroes. But, these Olympic Games also represent a continuing display of financial gain for the host country and the various corporations, groups, and the individual athletes themselves, who stand to earn millions because of the Olympics.
The fees for some of commercial television spots during the games range from close to a million to $ 2.5 million for thirty seconds. The athletes can achieve personal worldwide notoriety and, most of all, they can obtain large financial rewards through post-Olympics commercial contracts, public appearances, sponsorships, high profile jobs, books, movies, etc., etc.. Essentially, everyone directly and, indirectly, involved with the Olympic Games will profit in a very substantial way.
However, when we watch the games, we will all see those moments when the simple human being who became an athlete, emerges as her or his country’s most beloved hero. We will see her or him on the podium. The athlete’s flag will be raised higher than the rest. The country’s national anthem will be played, and tears will be shed. Only then, we can begin to comprehend the real meaning of the Olympics. The truth is that the Olympic Games are much less and, at the same time, much more, than the money, the commercials, a nation showcasing its best attributes and, it even goes beyond national and personal pride. It goes incredibly and exquisitely beyond it all. The games are, ultimately, about a woman or a man alone with herself and her own nature. The athlete’s state of mind is so intimately displayed within the thought and feeling at the time of the performance. A true athlete is a person fully connected to her own body, centered in her mind, strong in her single purpose. This person about to perform is surrounded by Nature’s quiet whisper and she hears it. She listens. She connects with the elements in order to achieve the ultimate goal. Her eyes are fixed on the one prize that matters the most, the one most revered. She does not compete for a gold medal. She reaches to be the best she can be in order to ascend and, in the glory of her wholesome, and ever so exquisite state of near perfection, she can rise to a higher ground and ascend to a place where fear, doubt, anger, and weakness, do no exist. She is, thus, a true winner.
Let us, therefore, wish that the athletes participating in London, will adhere to these, the most high ideals that I proposed within the simple lines of this article. Let us encourage every athlete, and ourselves, to go above and beyond de Coubertin’s.