In 1924, the first Winter Olympic Games occurred in Chamonix, France, with only 16 nations represented among 258 athletes. Today 92 nations will compete with thousands of athletes all together in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
According to the Olympic Charter, “The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.”
We at Scroll feel the Olympic spirit fills and unifies all those who participate, attend or watch from home.
Throughout the years, the Olympics have shown what it means to be human, giving athletes a chance to represent their nation on the world stage. The Olympics give wonderful opportunities to reflect on how we look at others around the world. While we all may have our cultural differences, we are all children of God.
The Olympic spirit can be felt the moment the opening ceremony commences. A large cultural celebration is held while thousands of athletes representing their nations enter the stadium with anticipation. The excitement continues during the following days as athletes push the limits in their sport while competing for gold.
The Olympic spirit is so much more than the excitement that is often felt. The Olympics are a dream, as JessiKa Jenson, a 2018 Winter Olympian, told Scroll this week.
“My goal behind snowboarding is to inspire kids to go for their dreams, and that anything is possible if you work hard and are willing to sacrifice things,” Jenson said. “You can truly do anything that you set your mind to, and I just really want to inspire kids in this area to go for their dreams.”
Jenson is not alone. Many youths, across the world dream their entire lives for the opportunity to compete in the Olympics. This dream is not only one of a desire to be the best, but to be an ambassador to the world.
Disney’s Cool Runnings shares the story of the first Jamaican bobsled team during the 1988 Winter Olympics. A great lesson learned from this story is that the Olympic spirit gathers the world together peacefully in the celebration of sport.
In the movie, Irving Blitzer, coach of the Jamaican bobsledders, said, “Hey, it doesn’t matter tomorrow if they come in first or 50th. Those guys have earned the right to walk into that stadium and wave their nation’s flag. That’s the single greatest honor an athlete can ever have. That’s what the Olympics are all about.”
As we sit and watch the Olympics, let us not forget what Coach Blitzer said. No matter the nation, Olympians share a bond and competitive spirit through sport.
This year’s slogan for the 2018 Winter Olympics, “Passion. Connected,” is so fitting to the Olympic spirit and the country of South Korea.
The connection between the world is greater because of the Olympic Games. North and South Korea announced this year that both nations will march under one flag in addition to fielding a combined women’s ice hockey team. Connecting both nations is a great step toward peace among bitter enemies.
All who watch the Olympics need to find their own Olympic spirit, whether it’s a dream of representing their nation at the games or finding common ground with those who have differences. We at Scroll know we all can play our part in the Olympics by building a better and more peaceful world, just as the Olympic Charter states.