“The True Spirit of the Olympics”

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A Facebook post from Iranian journalist Negar Mortazavi shows an image of US gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and Iranian silver medalist Sadegh Saeed Goudarzi with the caption “True spirit of the Olympics. Iranian and American wrestlers posing together. Let’s forget politicians for 2 seconds.”

Amidst political crises and wars—not to mention the commercialization and free speech limitations imposed on the London Games—it’s all too easy to forget what the Olympics are for. The first two principles of the Olympic Charter state:

1. Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the
qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism
seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good
example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

2. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development
of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the
preservation of human dignity.

The above image, of two athletes from supposed “enemy” countries embracing in their win, is precisely what is meant by the words in the Charter.