Friday, August 5, 2016
Here we go again. It's been just under four years since the 2012 Summer Olympic Games closed in London. The games have already started in Rio for 2016 as I write this, and the opening ceremony will take place tonight. It's hard not to feel like the Olympics are at a crossroads.
Don't get too concerned. They aren't going anywhere. In two years, the Winter Games will begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, and in 2020, Tokyo will host the next Summer Games. Both of those cities will no doubt do their best to host.
You just get the feeling that here on this planet that there just aren't too many places that CAN host the games any more. After all, Rio, the sixth-most populated metropolitan area in the Americas in one of the most-populated countries in the world, is having difficulty making sure everything shines, and everyone is safe.
We can hope the spirit of the Olympics shines through.
It's a spirit of competition and peace, but, all too often, the committee charged with keeping these games pure and sacred, the International Olympic Committee, has found itself hit with allegations of corruption and greed. Commercialism has replaced the spirit of competition and good will.
Even though these bad things have crept in over the years, the competition is unmatched. The honor of playing for one's country and representing your people against other athletes from around the world makes this event unique and so special.
So, over the next two weeks or so, we'll learn about new athletes. We'll meet some new pop culture icons, and we'll see great athletes whose careers are about to end do amazing things. We'll likely cry with someone who fights hard only to fall short in the end, and we'll wonder what happened to someone who was expected to do well but struggles. The stories write themselves, but the details change.
I want these games to be a success for Rio and for its people. With all the concerns over the Zika Virus, dirty water, violence and the unstable world climate dominating the headlines, it seems that success is the least expected result of these games.
Here's to hoping that, out of these crossroads, the Olympics will be a success for South America and the world at large. Here's to hoping that the only thing displayed over these next two weeks is peace, love and competition.