In a world where there is often precious little to celebrate, where citizens must die for democracy, people are gunned down in a movie theatre and countless other acts leave us saddened, disheartened or just plain cynical, every two years a spectacle takes place that breathes life back into the human spirit.
The Olympic Games are a two-week celebration of youth, goodwill and ultimate effort. A glimpse, perhaps, into the lighter side, the better side, of the human condition.
The Olympics are a spectacle where failure doesn’t result in civil war or poverty, but only an acknowledgement that more work is required. To lose leaves little consequence; we simply move on to the next event and hope.
Nanoose Bay’s Mike Mason’s high jump effort came up just short of the bronze medal. Simon Whitfield’s crash in triathlon and the women’s loss in soccer to the U.S. left us disappointed.
But to win leaves us punching the air in celebration, with lumps in our throat as our national anthem plays.
We see the joy and understanding in the athlete at the top of the podium, having carried an entire nation’s hopes on their shoulders and succeeded. To have so much sacrifice pay off.
That is what we celebrate.
And while every Olympics has its shortfalls, corporate sponsorships and huge investment in venues, the price is worth it.
For two weeks, the world converges in one place without politics, religion or greed. For two weeks, we get a glimpse of a world without borders.
As the 2012 London Olympics draw to a close, and as the Olympic Flame is once again set to be extinguished, we can look back and pocket the moments of inspiration, learn from the failures and embrace the human race.
The Olympics is not only a spectacle, but a necessity.