Olympics are an important symbol of diversity and unity


Summer Fitzgerald

The Olympics are not just a competition to win the gold, but a celebration of all of the talented athletes.

By Ally Formeller, Columnist

Every four years, American citizens rally around Team USA. We watch coverage of our favorite seasonal sports and celebrate the wins of athletes representing the US. Watching top athletes represent our country can be a great source of national pride, especially when they do well and “bring home the gold.” 

With athletes draped in the banners of their home countries competing for the glory of the gold medal against other top athletes, national pride is a big part of the celebratory nature of the games.

The sentiment of national pride doesn’t just come from the fans — it is intrinsically linked to the Olympic Games themselves. 

This goes against everything the Games are supposed to stand for. 

In fact, the actual meaning of the Olympic rings, one of the most iconic symbols of the event, was actually created as a symbol of unity and diversity. 

Obviously, nationalism and diversity are not mutually exclusive.

Every four years, thousands of athletes come together from nearly 100 countries to compete. In this year’s Olympic Games, over 2,800 athletes from all over the world are competing. 

Even Team USA shows incredible diversity, with athletes from a variety of different backgrounds

It’s unity that is missing. 

According to the Bureau of Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the previous host of the summer Olympics, one of the main purposes of the Olympic Games is to contribute to world peace. 

Achieving that goal requires a sense of unity. 

Often, politics get in the way of setting aside differences.

Boycotts of Olympic Games are not uncommon and have stained the idea of unity at the Olympic Games in the past. They also usually happen for political reasons. 

For example, over 40 nations boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 

Over 40 years later, the Olympic Games are being boycotted once again. 

Whether or not boycotts work or not has yet to be seen, but they certainLy do not support the sense of unity that the Olympics is supposed to promote.

And yes, there is some sense of unity among the athletes. Athletes from around the world compete at the same level, following the same rules, working just as hard as everyone else.

But that sense of unity barely breaks the surface of permeating the sports world and doesn’t make a dent in the rampant fandom and nationalism seen in the stands. 

The Games should be celebratory. Being proud of your country’s athletes isn’t a bad thing.

Celebrating athletes around the world is what the Olympic Games are for; it’s supposed to bring the world together to watch some of the best athletes compete. Instead of getting so hung up on bringing home the gold, we should be celebrating the amazing feats of all of the competing athletes. That’s unity.