February 10, 2006
it begins all over again. Four years have passed and we find ourselves
in another venue for the Winter Olympic Games. Only four years ago today,
I sat amidst the crowd at the 2002 Opening Ceremonies in Salt Lake City
and today I sit amidst my family watching the Opening Ceremonies in Torino,
Italy from the warmth of my living room. Either way, it remains a thrill
for me to witness this moment, the 20th Olympic Winter Games.
I stated, it begins all over again, but although we find ourselves in
a different venue, some aspects of Life remain the same. On August 13,
2004, I wrote in Our Morning Walk:
finally begins today; after all the waiting and preparation. Whether
Athens, its venues and security are ready or not - the Games of the
2004 Summer Olympics will begin this evening with the always-spectacular
was only a little over two years ago that I sat anxiously in a chilly
stadium in Salt Lake City and warmly welcomed in the athletes from around
the world in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. To
this day, I remember the incredible sense of community I felt while
sitting among the other 58,000 stadium spectators. We were all there
for the same reason: to celebrate not only a personal sense of nationalism,
but more importantly, to celebrate human achievement, regardless from
what land the athlete originated.
the tattered flag from the World Trade Center was ushered out for a
brief memorial at that Opening Ceremony, the only sounds I heard from
the immense gathering was muffled crying and sniffles. And again, there
seem to be a tremendous collective sense of community felt by ourselves
and those around us - many of which were not even from the United States.
forward two years and we find ourselves at the very birthplace of the
Olympics: Athens, Greece. We also find ourselves steeped in international
concerns of terrorism, hate, bigotry, anger, pain, suffering and lack
of understanding. And yes, the Games will not - nor were intended to
- collectively heal these wounds and hurts. But the Games were designed
to bring all of humanity together and to live out and instill the Olympic
most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take
part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph
but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but
to have fought well."
in this Creed, the struggle and fighting was never intended to and should
not be amongst ourselves as a race. It is the struggle of the human
condition and journey that we live collectively to advance - through
these friendly and joyous Games. And the fight is not one against an
external opponent, but against ourselves individually; to better the
person we were yesterday into the person we dream to be tomorrow. To
me, this is the heart of the Olympic Creed and Spirit. It is a spirit
that would do well to serve as an example in our international political,
cultural and economic arenas.
us pray that these Games will be a moment of peace and celebration during
a time of international unrest and anger. May these Games raise the
human spirit swifter, higher and stronger than it has ever been.
more than ever, we are in need of a moment of peace and celebration during
a time of international unrest and anger. Let us remind ourselves that
we are all Olympians in striving for justice and praying for peace.