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The Olympics - What Does It Mean To Us Today?

Updated on August 10, 2016

Olympic image


There is something about the Olympic games that makes athletes look forward to competing every four years, meanwhile, sports enthusiasts are as expectant as their heroes and heroines. Even nations remain ready to welcome the world to their door. So what is it that drives these expectations? How did the Olympic games come about? And what do the Olympic mean to our world today?


Interestingly, the Olympics was a festival of sport celebrated in a sanctuary in honour of the Greek god Zeus. It is reported that flames burned continually at three altars before three gods. One of the sources of lighting the flame was believed to be the sun which came to represent purity, a symbol translated into values – the origin of the Olympic touch. The games derive its name from the town of Olympia, the hosting town of the games.

The Olympics is said to have originally hailed from Greece a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Revived around 1896 in Athens, the Olympics saw 13 nations in attendance, a paling figure in comparison to the estimated 10,000 athletes competing in the 2016 Olympics. The five rings of the logo is a representation of all participating nations, the five continents. The games began yearly in the early part of the month of August, lasting for a period of 6 – 8 weeks.

Today, the Olympics starts by lighting a torch at Olympia before travelling under guard to the destination of the host nation. I believe one of the reasons the torch is usually guarded is to preserve the values that not only guides the game but also supports and promote the human race and structure.

The Olympics is divided into two main seasons: the summer Olympics and the winter Olympics, with each taking place every two years. It is governed by a voluntary body – The international Olympic committee who have a quest to improve our world through sports.



Olympic stadium


To Acknowledge And Affirm Amateur Talents, Skills And Abilities

Many factors drive expectations for the Olympic games. One of such objectives is to acknowledge and affirm the skills, talents and abilities of amateurs by encouraging competition among them. Though professionals are allowed to compete, they are only permitted to do so under certain guidelines.

Prove Competence

On the part of competitors, the Olympics allow participants to prove their worth in areas of competence. For these reasons, participants do not get any monetary reward. Instead, they are celebrated and compensated with 'medals' ranging from gold to silver and bronze.

International Corporation And Peace

The other driver is to promote peace and harmony not only among athletes but among nations also. The Olympics allow participants to perform in a team environment where bonds are formed and relationships are forged. These bonds do not only take place nationally but internationally also. What these relationships do is that it removes stereotypes and banish prejudices among participants and consequently nations.

Skill Donation

Another way of promoting harmony is through volunteering, where people are able to donate their skills freely for the common good of humanity. Thus, bringing out the best in people and making them feel appreciated and valuable.

Economic Gains

Nations have also learnt to use the Olympic games as a means of raising their international profile, an excellent tool for attracting global investments. The games also generate interest in tourism, bringing in foreign currency through ticket sales. Plus, there is the sale of television rights that yields additional income.

Social Development

The Olympics encourages huge infrastructural investment, allowing these investments to be directed towards degenerated areas of host nations. Thus providing job opportunities for locals. With infrastructure also come good transport networks, making travelling easy for locals. The end result is a well-developed community, with the capacity to attract professionals into a community, plus a general feel good factor among locals. This has the knock-on effect of reducing crime.


There is no one answer to this question because the games mean different things to different people, nations and organisations. However, the common and original goal still exist, and that is to promote unity and peace among nations. What a blessing this is in a world ridden with all manners of uncertainty, and what a better way to promote peace within the international community?

Giving Hope In The Face of Hopelessness

One practical and useful gain of the Olympics is that in a world of hopelessness, the games has become a temporary cure where people can forget about their immediate concerns and direct their attention towards a common human goal. For instance, for the first time, a new team called the refugee team is participating in the games and this is great.

Career Aspirations

Many competitors see the Olympics as the opportunity to forge careers, as the Olympics provides the global platform to prove themselves. The question is who can blame them? If you have a skill why not capitalise on it?

International profile

Nations have capitalised on hosting the games to raise their profile and promote international business, brand and recognition.

Economic benefits

The Olympics promote community development, create jobs, heath facilities, and in many cases, earned gains through tourism. Many countries are still reaping the economic benefits of hosting the games years after hosting the games. Consequently, hosting the Olympics has become a big business.

National cost

None can deny the benefits of the Olympic games nor refute the intended motive but what about the cost involved. Some hosting nations who hardly have the means to support their national infrastructures have successfully bid for the Olympics at a high cost to host the program because of perceived economic gains? Countries in a deep recession have managed to cough out millions to host the Olympics for approximately three weeks?

Wasted infrastructure

Sadly not all hosting nations have been able to reap the benefits associated with the games. Some countries have been unable to put buildings erected during the Olympic games to use, allowing many of such buildings to lie waste at the cost of the tax - payer.

Temporary disruptions and personal sacrifices

There have been unpleasant disruptions such as road diversions, to more serious issues where people have been forced to give up their lands and homes for national developments without the necessary and corresponding reward.

So what do you think? What does the Olympics mean to our world today?

In view of the above, maybe, The Olympic Community and hosting nations should decide what the Olympics means to host nations. Perhaps, there should even be a referendum in certain nations before they bid for the Olympics. Or better still, let us all return to the core values of the Olympics. What do you think?

Tabulated Details Of the Olympics

Olympic objective
To promote competition among amateurs
Economic gains
Temporary interruption for residents
To promote harmony among nations and participants
Social development
Loss of property in some cases
To promote peace through sports
Raising profiles for countries
General economic cost to poor nations
Eradicate predjucie and sterotypes
Infrustructure development
Wasted infrustructure facilities after the games

Summary via table

Long distance racing


The Olympics

Do you think the Olympics is loosing it's original purpose?

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