Caught in the fervor for the Olympic Games, I have sat hours in front of the T.V. watching every Olympic game that went on. Watching Michael Phelps swim for his eight gold medals by winning every single event offers me the same excitement that watching Chinese badminton player Lin Dan play an excellent game to win his first Olympic medal offers me.
On one commercial break, I was struck by a thought: the Olympic Games have not always been like this. There was a time when people cheered only for athletes from their own countries and jeered at athletes from other countries no matter how extraordinary the performances were.
In the old days, the Olympic Game was often viewed as a competition to proof the superiority of a nation, and indirectly, race, over another. As an extreme example, I will reference the 1936 Olympic Game held in Berlin, Germany, under the Nazi regime.
The Nazi Party handpicked every single one of its athlete to fit the “Aryan” description. By allowing only people of the “Aryan” description to participate in its team, the Nazi regime tried to prove the existence of a racial superiority—of the “Aryan” race above all other races. With the athletes’ strenuous effort, Germany successfully won 38 gold metals to become the biggest winner in the 1936 Olympic Game. With this victory, the Nazi Party bolstered its ideology of racial superiority of the “Aryan” people and pushed for eugenics. The Olympic Game that was supposed to bring the world together became a tool used to divide humanity and proliferate disharmony. This is a sad piece of history that no one wants to see repeated.
So, when you turn on the TV to watch a game of Olympics next time, try not to mind which country the athlete is from. Simply be prepared to be marveled by the greatest athletes from all around the world. Cheer for every single athlete and watch the human race push its physical limits to break new records and make new history.
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