SPORT AT THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY: CELEBRATING THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT
As we reflect on the 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS, there is much to be celebrated – the success of each country, their athletes, and the medals that were won. But beyond this, and even more importantly, was the ability of people from around the world to put aside their differences and come together in sport.
The moments that were often the most inspiring were not those of the winning athletes, but in the stories behind the athletes: stories of perseverance and overcoming obstacles; stories of unity and acceptance; and stories of athletes who tried and failed, yet were gracious in their defeat. Through these athletes we are reminded of the power of sport to inspire, to transform and to challenge ourselves to become better humans.
A Landmark Olympic Year
On February 7, 2018 during the General Audience at St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican, Pope Francis sent a special greeting and blessing to the athletes and organizers of the 23rd Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang:
“The traditional Olympic truce is particularly important this year as delegations from the “two Koreas” will march together under a single flag and will compete as a single team. This fact raises hope for a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully through dialogue and mutual respect, as sport also teaches us to do.
I greet the International Olympic Committee, the athletes who will participate in the PyeongChang Games, the authorities and the people of the Korean Peninsula. I join everyone in prayer and renew the Holy See’s appeal to support every initiative in favour of peace and encounter between peoples. May these Olympics be a great celebration of friendship and sport! May God bless you and keep you.”
The PyeongChang Winter Olympics were historic in many ways. Throughout the Games, we witnessed numerous instances where the power of sport crossed through culture, language, and political and religious beliefs, uniting people around a common love for sport. The spirit of the Olympics brought out the best in humanity, championing change and challenging the status quo.
- The two Koreas united as one, marching together under a common flag.
- Participation from a record number of female athletes (43%).
- Russia was banned from sending an official delegation as a consequence of their cheating.
Through the actions of the athletes, the fans and the IOC, we saw inspiring examples of how the world could be if we took our cue from sport and lived by the six SPORT AT THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY Principles:
COMPASSION, RESPECT, LOVE, ENLIGHTENMENT, BALANCE, JOY.
Sport at the Service of Humanity & the Olympic Games
SPORT AT THE SERVICE OF HUMANITY is honoured to have a connection to the Olympic Games that goes beyond the embodiment of the SSH Principles:
- The IOC, along with the UN, was an Institutional Supporter of the 2016 SSH Global Conference;
- IOC President Thomas Bach attended the 2016 Conference, along with a delegation of IOC officials
- Msgr. Melchor attended the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympics as part of the Official Delegation of the Holy See to the Olympic Games.
At the Games in PyeongChang, Msgr. Melchor, representing the SSH leadership team, met with Mr. Gerardo Werthein, President of the Argentina Olympic Committee regarding a possible participation by SSH at the upcoming “Olympism in Action” forum to be held during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October 2018.
More to Come
While the closing ceremony has signalled the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics,
our attention remains on PyeongChang. This month, we will be watching and
cheering on the athletes who are competing in the 2018 Paralympic Games.
These games and athletes embody the core SSH values of Inclusion, Involvement
and Inspiration. It is our hope that the world will join us as we celebrate the
success of these incredible athletes.
We wish all of the paralympians the very best of luck!