hugh anthony, certified lifestyle speaker · author · lifestyle coach
In a few weeks, the world’s attention will be on Brazil the host of the biggest event in history and the city of Rio de Janeiro will be in the spotlight for the XXXI Olympiad (Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games) this Summer (Rio 2016 Official Site). The host country has been preparing zealously not only to host the world and also to welcome athletes, officials, dignitaries, enthusiasts and supporters of the Olympic ideals, amidst its own national challenges, upheavals and turmoil notably from the zika virus to political instability, recession and socio-economic challenges. However, the nation’s resolve and enthusiasm hasn’t waned and will culminate with fever-pitch performances that are characterized by the dreams, determination, transformation and victories of the human race that the Olympic Games manifest.
Rallying for Rio 2016
Interestingly, the media narratives on Brazil have been vitriolic and questioning the country’s ability to host the games without carte blanche offers of help to the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee. Are we to wonder if those who been so critical have forgotten the ideals of the Olympic Games and why nations bid to host them? The ideals, pride and promise provide a platform for the celebration of collective athletic prowess and purposeful global unity (an ideal that seems yet elusive…). There is the need for recognition that we all need to rally around the ideals of the game, albeit amidst the challenges, globally. Where help is needed, we ought to give it our energies, where criticism trumps combined effort for solidarity, we need cautiously weigh what emerges. Mario Andrada, Director of Communications, Rio 2016 Organizing Committee told the BBC that “No other country in Olympic history has lived through such difficult political times so sharply close to the Games.”
When Brazil won the bid for the XXXI Olympiad, it was the 10th largest economy in the world; they carried the aspirations of generations and an entire continent. Of importance with events of this magnitude, the host nation agreed to invest approximately US$26 billion dollars in the Olympic ideals, the most after London (2012) and Beijing (2008). The World Bank predicted then, Brazil would be the 5thlargest economy by 2016 and the nation fervent hope is that it would lead to economic and social transformation. Albeit, it is now 2016 and the aforementioned was a future projection of where the country would be and I still believe they will get there, maybe not now but eventually.
The Olympic Games provides a platform that fosters and encourage gender equality and universality in the Olympic ideals and its programming. As HuffPost contributor, Allison Hoit notes “inclusion promotes a universal design concept that permeates a sports organization’s programming, policies and attitudes, stretching beyond basic physical access to the whole environment. Achieving that requires commitment. The commitment to inclusion must come from all stakeholders, sports organizations and mainstream sports organizations alike.” The Olympics and its organizing committee reflect this ideal, which recognized and embrace the need to unite in the commitment to building an inclusive community. The Olympic Committee and Brazil have taken the leadership and approach respectively to spearhead the triumphant return of golf to the Olympics after a 112-year absence.
Brazil is a resilient nation, and its people are exceptionally warm, vibrant and welcoming. They have a track record of hosting the 2014 World Cup and other events. Furthermore, inspiration also emerges from the powerful words of Katie Perry’s ‘RISE’ that embodies the ideals of a game that will transcend the myopic views of the those who ridicule and bring scorn to the efforts of a nation and its people…and most importantly the athletes globally who have been preparing to bring their best performances for us to witness.
“When, when the fire’s at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They’re whispering, “you’re out of time.”
But still, I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in; think again
Don’t be surprised, I will still rise..”
Excerpts from Katy Perry’s RISE (Rise)
If there is ever a time in the world we need hope, optimism and solidarity is now. With all the political upheavals, the divisiveness of our days and ugliness of inequity and social injustices, Rio 2016 will bring the world’s best together…amidst the notable absence of golfers, NBA players, tennis stars and others whose selfishness, woeful fears and disdain for collective expression, will not and cannot outshine the ideals of the XXXI Olympiad. Given the personal withdrawals, what matters is that the worldwide Olympic partners and official sponsors of Rio 2016 are in solidarity with the ideals that the Olympic Games represent. In the words of Black Uhuru (British Reggae Group)…words….
“What’s the matter, people?
Everybody wants the same thing, don’t they?
Everybody wants a happy end
They want to see the game on Saturday
They want to be somebody’s friend
Look at me, I ain’t your enemy
We walk on common ground
We don’t need to fight each other
What we need, what we need
Excerpt from Solidarity, Black Uhuru, Universal Music Group (Solidarity)
Regardless of the tensions of the Olympic Games, it’s historically proven that sports have acted as a liaison between nations and have immensely contributed to their evolution. By showing solidarity and support for Rio 2016, it provides an outlet to aid in the development of the nation and could bring an entire continent of people closer to the Olympic movement.
The XXXI Olympiad provides a platform where equity is triumphant yet again, given that all the athletes are representing their respective countries as Olympians regardless of class, color or creed. Their focus will be not just on their personal victories, record-breaking performances and triumphs; they also bring the hopes and dreams of their respective countries. This is an opportunity not just for our athletes, but the world collectively to embrace a forum where equity and peace have a chance. Rio 2016 is yet another opportunity that provides a platform for every human being to be espoused to the ideals of the Olympic, experience collective success, equity and equality. This will emerge when we promote fairness but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place. There needs to be a recognition that we all need help at times. In the spirit of the Olympics, Brazil is in need of the world’s help. Instead of the vilotric and damning expressions, that does not reflect our collective will but the individual and abhorrent selfishness of other nations.
Whether or not you choose to believe it, Rio 2016, will be the biggest and best Olympics; and the highlights from The Guardian (UK) espouses that “this will still be an epic, city-changing undertaking. Rio expects 15,000 athletes, 45,000 volunteers, 93,000 staff and 380,000 visitors for the two and a half weeks of the Olympics and the following 11 days of the Paralympics.”
Images: L-R Fabiana Murer, Usain Bolt and Mayra Aguiar
The people of Brazil will emerge victorious yet again, not just as World Cup champions and host, but as they did with winning the bid after their third attempt to host the Olympic Games and becoming the first South American nation to become its enviable host. This I think is embodied in the words of Queen’s song ‘We are the Champions’
“I’ve paid my dues
Time after time.
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime.
And bad mistakes ‒
I’ve made a few.
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through.
But it’s been no bed of roses,
No pleasure cruise.
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain’t gonna lose.
(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)
We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world.”
Excerpts from Queen’s ‘We are the Champions’ (We are the Champions)
Brazil will be hosting the biggest festival of sports for the world. This is a welcomed event and the globe is deserving of it amidst the political upheavals, socio-economic exigencies, the chaotic tensions and terrorism. For the next few weeks, let’s call a truce; let us rally for Rio 2016 and celebrate the Olympians they are all champions (win or lose). The host nations offer vistas, the views, cultural excitement, the fever pitch moments that will emerge. Be beholden to the ecstatic performances that will be unveiled and reveal the spirit of the Olympic Games that foster the ideals of a world that epitomizes R.I.S.E.
© Hugh Anthony 2016
Hugh Anthony is a certified lifestyle speaker, author and lifestyle coach for executives, creative and transitioning professionals. He is committed to helping individuals transform their passions into possibilities to enhance value creation by harnessing their lifestyle and experience to be more meaningful, profitable and purposeful.
Hugh Anthony is the Co-Founder | Consulting Lifestyle Director of Consulate| Milieu®, a boutique lifestyle consultancy firm based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in coaching, live and virtual events, training workshops an avid lifestyle projects for its diverse clientele. He is an authority on public speaking and presents on topics relating to speaking and presentation, leadership and value creation. His forthcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Public Speaking: 7 Steps to Professional Mastery will be published Summer 2018.