In this, the third Olympics since I have been posting thoughts here, I find these games above all else to be inspiring.
This may seem like empty praise coming from a citizen of the USA—a country that has won more medals than any other in the history of the Olympic Games—but the most inspiring thing about them is not the winning. The vision of the games is one of peace, harmony, and people testing the boundaries of human abilities together. And, it may be too lofty a vision in this fallen world of brokenness and selfishness, but it is one that has been possible in a world so impacted by Christianity. Not one that we can achieve on our own, but it is inspiring to see the better angels of our nature.
It is inspiring to see people who have trained most of their lives, who have risen to the top of their discipline in their respective countries, compete with each other with respect and excellence. It is inspiring to see them lose with just as much respect and honor when that happens. Inspiring to see winner and loser embrace and part as equals.
It is inspiring this year to see a team of athletes who have been displaced from their home countries still able to compete. It is inspiring to hear their stories and to hear about the people who have accepted them, helped them, and given them a new life in new homes.
It is inspiring to see the world come together and declare that winning by any means is not acceptable. Inspiring to see standards upheld and countries denied a place when they tarnish the ideals of the games.
And, in a cultural climate of fearmongering and doom forecasters like we have today, it is good to see that not everything is as dire as the conventional wisdom would have us believe.
For past musings, see here and here.