The Olympics: Celebrating Unity and Peace through Sports, Part 2 of 3

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The story goes that the creation of the Olympic Truce began with two kings living near Olympia, Greece named Iphitos and Cleomenes I, who with the help of the Spartan lawyer Lycurgus, formalized an agreement to make the Olympic Truce a reality, and something that would later become an integral part of the Olympic vision. With this contract in place, the Olympic Truce provided security and safety for the Olympic arena and the host city Elis, and ensured peace during the Games.

In ancient times, the Olympic Truce only protected the local areas around Olympia, but in the modern revised form, it extends to all countries around the world by reminding them to seek an end to meaningless fights during and after the Olympics. In 2000, the spirit of peace resounded during the Sydney Summer Games when South and North Korea walked together in the Olympic stadium under a common flag at the opening ceremony! Further exemplary cases were observed particularly in the United Kingdom. For instance, the London Summer Olympic Games of 2012 stands out as one of the best examples where all citizens of the world were encouraged to embrace the spirit of the Olympic Truce. UK diplomats orchestrated and led an earnest plea to all nations who were not in agreement to cease hostilities and seek peaceful solutions.

Another spectacular instance was the Right Honorable Lord Michael Bates’ Walk of Truce. “I think what we need above all in the present time is that the Olympic ideal of seeing ourselves as part of something which is greater than a national boundary, part of civilization, or one exactly the same, living under the same rules, living in harmony. That is a peace which can inspire and has inspired.”

To date, more than 200 countries have participated in the Olympics since its revival in 1896. This is quite an accomplishment in uniting the world and greatly contributes to world peace. In Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Summer Games, a one-of-a-kind team participated; for the very first time a team consisting only of refugees was formed. The Refugee Olympic Team came from four different countries and included two swimmers, two judokas, a marathoner, and five medium-distance runners.

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