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Keep the Torch Burning: Why the World Needs the Olympics

It is 776 BC. The year that the first Olympic games is thought to have taken place. Fierce competition between athletes is a spectacle to behold, the crowd cheers, and laurels are bestowed upon the winner. The year is 2018. Fierce competition between athletes is a spectacle to behold, the crowd cheers, and laurels are bestowed upon the winner (along with a gold, silver or bronze medal). Over 3,000 years later, the Olympic tradition still inspires. The Olympics is a powerful thing. For two weeks every two years, the world seems to stop and take a break from the ugly hatred and violence to allow for a moment of positivity to shine through. Of course, the world does not actually stop, and bad things continue to happen all over the globe. But for 14 days, our news networks are filled with festivities, celebrations, victories, and life-changing experiences. You hear heartbreaking stories of determination and recovery, stories that

end in a realization of a lifelong dream. You can watch records shatter and witness the incredible power of the human body to cross new frontiers and create breakthroughs in sport.

 

The Olympics has the power to unite unlike anything else. We put aside our differences of nationality, race, and creed and focus on what makes us all similar. Athletes share a common love for their sport, a common experience of the nonstop training, the harsh losses, and glory of a win. Spectators share a love for their country, their friends and family, and a willingness to meet new people and celebrate together. Even if you are no sports fan, the political and economic effects of the Olympics are undeniable. Host cities are given the greatest honor and show off their brightest colors to the world. Tensions between countries lessen as athletes compete side by side.

All of my life the Olympics have inspired me. I found heroes in the track stars of the 2012 London games, watched in awe at the ski jumpers touch the clouds in Sochi in 2014, and dreamed of going to Rio in 2016. To me, there is nothing more incredible than being a part of something that brings people together from all over the world. The Olympics give the world something to celebrate, a tiny glimmer of hope and peace that we all can cling to. If only we could bottle up the Olympic spirit and tap into it during the times when we need hope and joy the most. The Olympics is a bright spot in a dark and treacherous world and encaptures the very best of the human spirit.

-J

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