Whatever your thoughts about the Olympic Games, I ask you to bear with me for this piece.
Forget for a while the ridiculous over-commercialisation of it all and its ludicrous number of corporate sponsor partners. Leave aside the moron who mixed up the flags of North and South Korea. And finally, if you have no interest at all in athletics, feel free to leave aside all the sport too. It doesn’t really matter.
The spirit of the Olympics is what excites me now as the gaze of the whole world turns tonight to a stadium barely 10 minutes away from my home. The spirit need not necessarily relate to sport at all. This is what the Olympics represents:
- An obsession with excellence
- Setting high standards to live by
- Committing to live by these standards. Those who pay mere lip service to them will not win
- Making the most of your potential, and often surpassing what you thought you were capable of
- Ascetic simplicity on a quest for personal satisfaction and the reward of doing something to the best of your ability
- The important thing is not winning, but taking part
- The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well
There was an interesting interview with John Major on Radio 4 this morning. He thought that the legacy of the Olympics were the consequences of watching so much enthusiasm and effort to achieve difficult things. This can generate the potential for people to become “fit not fat” and to join “teams not gangs”.
I anticipate spending much of the next couple of weeks “working” in front of the TV. I can’t wait!
Here are a few little video clips from the Olympics to get you in the mood…
start this at 1 min 30:
And finally, here’s Boris!