Years ago I visited the Olympics Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was pretty great!!
I love what the Olympic Games represents. To me, they’re about pushing aside any political woes, the atrocities of the world – and there are many – and realising the good we humans can do. Now of course, I am the first to say we actually need to pay much more attention to the ridiculous amount of pain and suffering in the world. The money spent preparing athletes could be much better used sheltering the homeless, feeding the starving and allowing researchers to make new discoveries. But I’m aiming to write a happy piece here, so I’ll leave that aside for now. I would also say the level of competitiveness between athletes goes too far. But if I put my blinkers on and look straight down the middle, blurry section, I see teamwork, kindness, laughter, health, learning and humanity on show.
I learnt from that visit to the Olympic Museum back in 2009 that the modern games were founded by Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He loved the idea of the ancient Olympic Games from Olympia, Greece (they ended in 393 AD) that he thought he’d set up a modern version. So off he went. He created the International Olympic Committee in 1894. His aim was ‘to help build a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport.’ (I found that line on the museum’s website olympic.org)
The first Olympic Games of the modern era took place in Athens in 1896.
Prior to the Rio games starting, some of my colleagues were discussing how they didn’t think it would be a good opening ceremony ‘because they didn’t know any famous Brazilians who’d be in it, unlike the Spice Girls at London’. But that’s what I love the most. There is so much to learn about Brazil. I loved the opening ceremony! I found I learnt a few things and enjoyed a great show at the same time.
So back to what I love about the games. Here are my top 11 moments from Rio 2016. In no particular order (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some).
- Witnessing Michael Phelps continue to outdo himself. 23 Olympic gold medals is one heck of a resume.
- That photo of the lifeguard at the pool.
- Usain Bolt’s triple triple.
- The post swim interviews by our swimmers – all the ones I saw showed each swimmer humble and proud, no matter what time and in what order they touched the end of the pool.
- Simone Biles.
- The marriage proposals.
- New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin and American runner Abbey D’Agostino in the 5000m heat.
- Melissa Tapper. After her efforts at the Olympics she’s now preparing for the table tennis tournament in the Paralympics!
- Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen winning the triple jump (I have a personal link to Colombia).
- Chloe Esposito and my newfound love for pentathlon.
- Watching the Matilda’s against Brazil – although I didn’t like the result, obviously.
As I write this, the closing ceremony is just a few hours away. It’s been a great couple of weeks Rio. Thanks for the inspiration athletes of the world!