So here’s the deal, I am not a sports lover, not by a long shot. But, over the last few weeks I’ve found myself reading the sports sections of the newspapers, turning to good ol’ Google to find out about various events taking place in and around London and I’ve had the best time doing it. So why do the Olympics have this mesmerizing effect on people all over the world? What is it about this phenomenon that makes even the most indifferent individual stay awake at odd hours to watch a favourite make it to the finish line? What is it that about this mega event that succeeds in making a sport lover out of me, albeit temporarily?
You see, while the Olympics provide a thrill for sports lovers all over the world it does something very different for me. Yes watching Usain Bolt fly to the finish line is thrilling and watching Sushil Kumar’s grit and termination was humbling, of course there are the moments when time stands still and the hair on the back of my neck rises but the Olympics do so much more than that. They mean so much more than that.
More than anything, though, the Olympics are about dreams and the triumph of the human spirit. Not just the dreams of the greats like Michael Phelps, but the modest dreams of a Saina Nehwal and the shattered dreams of a Sahana Kumari. And at the end of the day I’ve realized this is what defines my love for the Olympic Games.
Hearing the stories of the athletes and listening to tales of personal and professional struggle is a lesson in endurance, in perseverance, in will power and in the tenacity of the human spirit. And while it is easy to go overboard and get too emotional over the drama of the games, the fact remains that there are innumerable amazing stories represented in that collective body of athletes.
That’s what really matters: when statistics, wins, losses and tallies are all transcended by humanity, by dreams, by human achievement in the face of struggle and strife and through it all sport is no longer remains just about sport – it becomes a metaphor for life itself.
From their inception in ancient Greece, the Olympic Games have been a celebration of the human body, the human mind and the human spirit. The essence of those ancient games still remains to this day. In a world full of scripted drama and false emotions the Olympics capture us, enthrall us, amuse us and awe us by highlighting our commonalities and by simply being gut-wrenchingly ( for want of a better word) real.
Testing the limits of the human spirit won’t end now that the curtains have fallen on London 2012, the defining moments of the last two weeks will stay with us and will accomplish what the Olympics hoped to achieve – ‘inspire a generation’, making them stronger, and better at everything they do. Not just in their chosen sport, but in life itself.
Never put limits on your dreams –Dara Torres, Olympic Swimming Champion and 12 time Olympic medal winner