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The Olympics: Celebrating Unity and Peace through Sports, Part 1 of 3

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Every two years, thousands of the best athletes from around the world gather to participate in the Olympic Games. Although they are competing in sports, their coming together is also a celebration of peace and unity. The central theme of togetherness and friendship is proudly declared and beautifully represented in the Olympic flag. Designed in 1912 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, cofounder of the modern events, the flag has five colorful interconnected rings symbolizing the cordial bond of the five continents. The colors blue, yellow, black, green, and red were chosen because at least one of them appears on the national flag of every country in the world. Coubertin also intended the rings’ connection to one another to stand for a unified world.

According to historical records, the very first Olympic Games were held in 776 BC in Olympia, southern Greece. After the first international Olympic Games was held in 1896, it wasn’t until 1928 that the modern Olympic flame tradition began. The Olympic torch is famously lit every two alternating years at the opening ceremonies of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. The flame that lights the torch is created by using a parabolic mirror that concentrates the sun’s rays to spark the fire. By lighting the fire in this ceremonial way, it is believed the flame is at its purest. We’ll now explore how the Games gradually became more popular and came to be hosted by other countries.

In ancient times during a truce, certain local rituals or “fun games” would take place in different regions throughout Greece, and the Greek term for this is Ekecheiria, which means the Olympic Truce or the “laying down of arms.” The Olympic Truce tradition is still being practiced to the present day.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.” Another instance where harmony and peace are promoted is found in the Olympic Charter which states that its goal is, “to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

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