It’s that time again. The time where fans and athletes from around the world unite. The time where we see the torch ignited. The time where athletes compete for bronze, silver and gold medals for their country.

The Olympics, according to Cambridge Dictionary, is

“A set of international sports competitions that happen once every four years”

These “games” feature over 12,000 athletes from over 200 countries consisting of various sporting events. These sporting events vary depending on what season the Olympics take place.

The Summer Games consist of 42 events, which include, but are not limited to Equestrian, Gymnastics and the Triathlon. The Winter Games, however, has 15 events which include but are not limited to: Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Curling and Freestyle Skiing.

But what makes the Olympics memorable and enjoyable?

Let’s look at what made the Olympics what they are today.

The Olympics actually started off as a festival that originated in ancient Greece, but then revived again in the late 19th century. In 1896, the first modern games took place in Athens, Greece. The winners during this time period were presented with an olive branch and a silver medal. There were no bronze or gold medals until 1904.

In 1914, the Olympic rings symbol was designed by Pierre de Coubertin. Each of the rings represents different areas of the world, but when interlocked means unity and peace. However, in 1916, the Games were canceled due to World War I in Berlin.

In 1924, the first winter Olympics ever was held in Chamonix, France. During this time, there were 16 events contested in five sports, which are still in the Olympics today!

The games were going fine, until 1956 when numerous countries boycotted the games for political reasons. These protests happened again in 1968, 1976, 1980 and 1984. This brings me to my main point.

If politics are starting to get into the games, then why does it still matter?

Why did we fight all this time to keep the tradition for so long?

The Olympic Games bring inspiration and hope to people all over the World.

Imagine watching the Opening Ceremony and watching the athletes from all over the world march in the Parade Of Athletes. They made it. They have been training for years, even their lives, for this moment... to be on the Olympic stage.

There have been plenty of inspiring moments during the Olympics. These athletes show that it does not matter where you came from or your background story. They show that you can “Go for the Gold.”

For example, Michael Phelps took home eight Gold Medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He broke the record for most medals won by an individual in the Olympics. If they can inspire one person, they can inspire a whole generation.

Just seeing the aspiring athletes competing at the Olympic stadium shows the viewers around the world they too can “keep the fire going” and “go for the gold!” Ever since the 2012 London Olympics, a lot of people around the world have been more involved in sports. The cause of this rise was that London wanted more of their citizens to go out and be more active by playing sports three times a week.

The games are a time where we can show our pride and patriotism.

With every inspiring moment, comes an achievement. Athletes break world records, which then gives them gold medals. But not all heroic athletes wear gold.

“USA! USA!” That chant never gets old. Studies have shown that fans support teams closer to them because a sports team is an expression of a “fans sense of self.” There are pros, like self-esteem, pride, identity and belonging.

However, there is a downside. We become biased towards ourselves. We want to win, which is one of the reasons why we don’t care for countries other than the USA.

Yes, we are competitive. It’s in our blood, the athlete's blood, everyone’s blood. However, it’s about how we handle it.

These games show great examples of what true sportsmanship is. During a women’s 5,000-meter relay, Nikki Hamblin from Team USA fell and broke her knee.

“But instead of immediately attempting to catch the pack of runners, the American helped the visibly rattled Hamblin to her feet.”

She helped her teammate finish the heat, although they ended up behind everyone else. This shows that it's not about winning it all but to be there for your team when they need it.

We, too, can be there for Team USA and all the other countries that compete in the Olympics. Instead of saying “USA! USA! USA!” We should be saying, “World Unite! World Unite! World Unite!”

The games bring athletes and fans all over the world in harmony and unity for World Peace.

Life divides us. It divides us based on who we are, where we came from and how we were raised. Yet, we all have our differences, and there is a time where we all come together.

The Olympic Games are a time where those divisions and problems are set aside and we come together as one. Yes, we may be all different, but in the end, we are all human, and we are all connected someway, somehow.

During the games, the athletes are not bonded by differences, but by unity. These divisions do not define an Olympic athlete. An Olympian is determined, competitive, talented and motivated. These athletes did not just get a free pass to the Olympics. They had to shed blood, sweat and tears together to represent our country.

In the 2018 Winter Olympics, North and South Korea will be uniting as one. They will be marching in as one and compete in numerous (not all) events as one.

However, this wasn’t the first time this happened. It happened the first time in 1991 in the World Table Tennis Championships and the 2006 Winter Games in Italy.

It's crazy to realize that sports can actually bring people together. Sports have a way of having people work together for a common goal, and somehow, it magically works out.

Now, apply that to reality.

If we started uniting and coming together to achieve common goals, life would be a lot smoother.

Maybe, instead of just cheering for Team USA, we should be cheering on every country that sets foot in the stadium or arena, even Team USA. As Robert Cheeke stated:

“There is no ‘I’ in “Team,” but there is an “E” for “Everyone.” A team achieves more when everyone contributes.”

The games are a celebration for everyone, worldwide!

It started off as a festival, ending in a celebration of world peace that lasts for generations to come. The games are a time to celebrate world diversity. It is a time to recognize other countries and their cultures.

There’s a lot of symbolism and meaning involved with the games. From the torch relay representing brotherhood to the Olympic rings representing unity and time. Doves are also released to represent peace in the duration of the games.

In the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio was hosting the games. Now, it costs a lot to host the games, and Rio was facing a budget crisis.

However, at the opening ceremony, Brazil presented a show about global warming with the ice cap melting and the sea levels rising. This brought a symbolic need to come together and make a change.

“{The Games} Celebrate the best of humanity. All warring parties {are} to lay down their weapons {during the two weeks of sporting achievement}.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In the closing ceremony, however, the Olympic flame was extinguished by a rain shower but then gave life to a large tree structure to symbolize rebirth.

These two weeks every four years are a time to unite in peace and celebrate the diversity in the world. The Rio Olympic games were a huge celebration, the type of celebration that shows what the Olympic games actually mean.

These games are a celebration of legacy and tradition, a celebration of hope, a celebration of diversity. As long as the games go on, the celebration will last for generations to come.

So why does it matter?

After all the fun of the games, we, as a unified world, come together to celebrate and bring inspiration and hope to future generations around the world.

So why does it matter?

As previously stated, the games play numerous roles that affect both the athletes and fans around the world. By having the Olympics, it shows you can defy the odds and achieve your dreams.

Maybe the Olympics isn't just a series of competitions. Maybe they’re a symbol. A symbol of how we need to unite peacefully in our lives.

But in the end, it’s not about the medals, not about the fame. But it’s about celebrating our differences, coming together and achieving greatness in our lives.

That’s why the Olympics games matter. To come together and make the world a better place!

Keep the fire going and go for the gold!