Rethinking the Olympics – BBC Radio 4

If this pandemic gives us a chance to rethink how we approach things, how we can make changes for the better in our society; then I think, when we see the return of the Olympics and Paralympics next year, we should see it as a triumph of the human spirit. We should remember the meaning behind the Games.

The Ancient Olympics started in a time of political upheaval, when a truce was introduced to allow participation. The modern Olympics designed a symbol of 5 interlocking rings to show the connection of our 5 continents.

The Paralympics were born because sport and exercise were considered vital in the recovery of veterans of World Wars with spinal injuries. The publicly stated values of both games are deep seated, human values. They are more than sport. They reflect humanity, society. They are a celebration of progression and passion and demonstrate the importance of inclusion and bonding.

This year the Tokyo 2020 has been postponed because of COVID19. The flame has gone out, but temporarily. The spirit of the Games is not broken, it remains strong. And a postponement gives us time to remember what it is we value and celebrate in this 4 yearly event.

The scale may have to be reduced, but that could make it even more about the heart and spirit of competition. Even more about global friendships. Athletes from all over the world connecting, countries reuniting. We’ll remember the simplicity of inspiration and impact, not counted in the number of fireworks lit, but in the number of hearts touched. This delay perhaps gives us an opportunity for an even more successful games. In a world rocked by conflicts and challenges, sport remains a place of hope that schools us in human values…