As it has happened since 1896, when the first Modern Olympics were revived in Athens, the time has come for London to hold the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The Games started from a small athletic meeting and have developed to a worldwide mega event with billions spent, hundreds of sponsors and thousands of participants. Somewhere in all the madness, the true Olympic Spirit of athletic participation and the honor of representing a nation have gotten lost.
It was not until the Opening Ceremony in the Athens 2004 Olympics that the world was reminded of the true meaning of this event once again: it is not the gold medals, the fame and fortune, the financial benefits for the sponsors and hosts alike. The true meaning of the Olympic Spirit is one of brotherhood, mutual respect, peace and honor in the participation of this glorious athletic event.
And now, it’s time for London. Despite the various organizational blunders, London must be ready. Let’s hope that the Spirit, which has traveled with the Olympic flame, lit in Olympia a few months ago, has arrived in the city of London. Let’s hope that the Games will once again be about the athletes and not the sponsors, they will be about the spirit of brotherhood, respect and honor, and not hatred and divisiveness.
The Olympic Anthem, which is sung in Greek during the Opening Ceremony of each Olympics, beautifully sums up this most honorable and spectacular of human gatherings (translated from the original Greek text):
Immortal spirit of antiquity
Father of the true, beautiful and good,
Descend, appear, shed over us thy light,
Upon this ground and under this sky,
Which has first witnessed thy perishable flame.
Give life and animation to these noble games.
Through wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors,
In the race and in the strife,
Create in our breasts, hearts of steal.
In thy light, plains, mountains and seas,
Shine in a roseate hue and form a vast temple,
To which all nations throng to adore thee
Oh immortal spirit of antiquity!
Here’s a look back at the early days from the New Yorker Photo Booth of some of these memorable games:
MAY THE GAMES BEGIN . . . AGAIN!