The Spirit of Olympics

The father of Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, once phrased sports as a combat he said, “The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well.” When the idea of hosting modern Olympics came to Baron Coubertin, he had only thought to host it in Paris in 1900 but delegates from 34 countries were so enthralled with the concept that they convinced him to move it to 1896 and host it in Athens. This was the birth of the modern Olympic movement and after African countries gained independence they joined the movement since they believed in the spirit of Olympics and most importantly to announce they had arrived at the international scene.

The father of Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, once phrased sports as a combat he said, “The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well.” When the idea of hosting modern Olympics came to Baron Coubertin, he had only thought to host it in Paris in 1900 but delegates from 34 countries were so enthralled with the concept that they convinced him to move it to 1896 and host it in Athens. This was the birth of the modern Olympic movement and after African countries gained independence they joined the movement since they believed in the spirit of Olympics and most importantly to announce they had arrived at the international scene.

Sport is a central hobby and entertainment in our modern society. It is considered entertaining, enjoyable and ignites passion especially when States go head to head. The Modern Olympics Games provides a platform where states can come together and compete peacefully. Partaking in the Olympic Games is important for states and the athletes because it is a symbol of capability for the athlete and power for the state. 

This makes the Olympic Games (OG) the most competitive in international arena for states to acquire prestige and build their image. Moreover, the Olympic Charter concedes that at the heart of the modern Olympic movement is a desire to contribute “to building a peaceful and better world.” This has made sports an instrument of identity for countries. 

Indeed, arising from the numerous successes registered by Kenya’s sportsmen and sport women since 1956, when Kenya participated under the British East Africa protectorate for the first time in the Olympic Games, the country has received a lot of recognition from other countries of the world. Kenyans have garnered a reputation as a “Superpower” in the sporting world based on her athletes’ commendable performances in the middle and long distance races. This sport identity that Kenya has cultivated throughout the years appeals to Kenyans and ignites patriotism in a way that no other event can.

Globalization and the mass media/social mediahas accelerated the influence of sport: ‘The almost super-nationalistic competitive nature of sport is, of course, best exemplified by the Olympic Games. MacClancy argues that the Olympics have since been transformed into a deeply politicized arena where states vie with one another through the medium of sport’ (MacClancy1996, p.12).

In the international sports competition, the people are represented by the national team. These events are regularly scheduled and known in advance. The nation can prove that it exists by these regular international events that can unify people. According to Pierre Arnaud (Arnaud & Riordan 1998, pp.6-7), Sport is more than a simple hobby, it belongs to the State. Athletes or players are the ‘ambassadors’, the ‘official representatives’ of a ‘national culture’. There is an implicit cohesion and ‘solidarity between a people and its national sportsmen’. It creates a symbolic picture to the population itself, in the eyes of other nations’ populations, ‘in terms of its influence, prestige and vitality’.

The Olympic Games that are kicking off this week will therefore be an opportunity for us to rally behind our athletes, despite the doping accusations that have been dogging us. The platform provided to us by the International Olympic Committee is a way for Kenya to stand in the international arena as a sovereign state and proudly showcase our talent. Our ambassadors in the next month will be our Rio athletes and we have variety. So be sure to watch: 

Archery – Shehzana Anwar (Women’s Individual)

Athletics (Track& Field) –  6 Marathon runners (3 men and women)

42 athletes (29men &13 women)

{Field – Julius Yego (Javelin Throw) & Mathew Sawe (High Jump)}

Boxing – Peter MungaiWarui (Light flyweight), Benson Gicharu (Bantamweight) &RaytonOkwiri (welterweight)

Judo – Kiplangat Sang

Rugby Sevens – Men and Women (Need I mention the names)

 

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