Sport Has the Power to Change the World

February 21, 2014 Daniel Sendecki

From now until the last fireworks light up Sochi’s sky on February 23, G Adventures will offer up the best original and curated content from around the web. Want to follow along? We’ll share our take on Sochi 2014 through through the @gadventures handle, on Facebook—and right here on the Looptail. Check out all of our Winter Games–related articles here. This is your planet—see it at play.

After sixteen days of competition, the XXII Winter Games will come to a close and athletes from all over the world will once again march as the Games officially conclude. They say sport and politics should never mix, but they have seldom been entwined so tightly as they have been in Sochi.

The Olympic Rings in Sochi, Russia. Photo by Atos.

The Olympic Rings in Sochi, Russia. Photo by Atos.

Considering the buildup to the games, you’re excused if you thought most of the drama in Sochi would occur outside of the competitions’ venues. Harrowing reports of ‘dangerous’ water, terrorist threats and poorly installed toilets overwhelmed coverage leading up to the most expensive Games ever. However, once the excitement and glory of the Winter Games took over (especially the sporting events at its heart), they swept all of the other concerns off the track.

Sport has the power to unite

Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African activist and politician who passed away last December, realized the transformative and unifying power of sports—and used that power to make changes that protests and diplomacy could not.

“Sport has the power to change the world.” Mandela maintained. “It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” Read the rest of his speech here.

When the athletes clear out of the Olympic village on Monday, Sochi will feel a bit like a collapsed umbrella. City officials will rip down the Olympic netting, repaint all the buses and go back to chasing wolves out of the Games’ venues. (Yes — we know it was a hoax!)

The spirit will endure.

But the spirit will linger. And that’s because the Winter Games is about more than just sport — it’s about shared community and bringing the world together. The Games remind us that we are all human, that we share this planet with one another—and that even in our finest hours, we are capable of faltering. Yes, the headlines may ebb and flow —but of one thing we can be sure. Thanks to the athletes, the Olympic spirit will endure.

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