Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay 2008 Moving Beyond World Unity Symbolism

As far as I'm concerned, the Olympic torch relay is suppose to represent world unity. A time to come together as the human family and celebrate our connectedness with some friendly competition. Acknowledging our tribalism in the form of nations at the same time we put it aside by having our representatives face off on sport playing fields/pools/mats/courts/roads.


Inspired by the shape of a traditional Chinese scroll, the imagery of the ‘Cloud of Promise’ represents the traditions of China, while the shape, texture and technology evoke the Olympic spirit. It is said to be ergonomically sound, is able to remain lit in a 40 m.p.h. wind, runs on clean-burning propane and is 100 percent recyclable. - Mike Nizza, New York Times
The torch is 2.4 feet high, weighs 2 pounds and is made of aluminum. The torch has been produced to withstand winds of up to 40 miles per hour and to stay alight in rain up to 2 inches an hour. - Torch Design, Beijing Olympic Torch Graphic Elements

Unfortunately, this time around, the summer Olympics torch relay is not going swimmingly. Everywhere the torch and Olympic flame touches down around, protests impede the ceremonial procession. I understand the motivation of wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to bring attention to important causes. But I'm also angry at the extreme selfishness. Basically, the aggressive protesting is denying the world the chance to participate in the Olympic spirit, which is supposed to be above and beyond conflicts between any specific groups. As far as I'm concerned the protesters are on the tipping point of sympathy and peeve. That has to be counter productive to what they were trying to accomplish, right?

What I don't understand is why protesters are mad at us, the west, in general.
Yet the protests are producing harmony in at least one part of the world: China. While the Chinese government has called the protests "vile," many ordinary Chinese see the protests as evidence of that the West aims to humiliate and control China.


Why blame the general public for actions of a very few? Most of us want to see the games go on.

The torch relay, if you want to call it that, in San Francisco was the ultimate in ridiculousness. After 10,000 people gathered on the published route, apparently the authorities decided to do the torch relay on a totally different unpublished route and skip the closing ceremony. The whole episode seemed to have missed the point of the concept of Olympic Spirit.
Olympic Spirit mission is "to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play - Olympic Spirit strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. Olympic Spirit seeks to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled time in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place."

Olympic Spirit "will give Olympic athletes and sports much higher profiles and the increased attention they deserve... People - young and old alike - will be able to experience the sports and the intensity of the competitions personally through interactive exhibits and demonstrations [giving] everyone attending a sincere appreciation for what the athletes experience - and endure.

The powers that be basically decided it was more important to get a few random photo ops than to support the ideals of the torch relay. I thought the Olympics was about including everyone, peace, brotherhood and all that, not just a handful of VIPs.

Some good links:

1 comment:

Don said...

Hello,

May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

URL: http://www.2008chinaolympics.com
Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,

Don
chinaolympics8@gmail.com