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Although the title sounds pompous, you have to admit that it escapes the dullness of a header like “a reflection on the Olympics”. Which would be, by the way, a much more appropriate content for the topic of this post. Calling it “an Olympic reflection” certainly magnifies undeservedly the author’s rambling or worse,  confuses the reader and irritates him. The truth is that – vanity sins aside – there are a lot of interesting things going on in the Olympics beyond sport. As a man who doesn’t really find much comfort in religion, I can only start to describe how uplifting I find to see 204 nations parading together side by side, in a stadium that stretches beyond its spectators and performers to spread out a message of brotherhood that for once doesn’t sound like demagogic propaganda. The Olympic spirit is really something magnificent, one of the rare demonstrations that mankind does indeed feel a bond to and for itself. The way I see it, it is our inborn need to compete, challenge and succeed channeled to unite. Because knowing how to win is a quality as important as being able to accept the defeat. Winning and losing are some of the most broadly interpreted and misunderstood concepts that I can think of and I can only but cherish an event that helps alleviate hatred and resentments. There are too many sports going on, too many exchanges, too many chances for a country to rise in a discipline and fall in another to get trapped into absolutes. Individuals and teams win or lose, but countries never stand just on one side or another. Sometimes they have their flag raised high and their notes broadcasted out loud. More often however, their flags remain folded in some cabinet while some unfamiliar notes accompany the proud, hard-earned, tearful joy of a foreign winner. Perspective and relativism is forced into you and, thankfully, on your country as well. I think this is really the first step to learn how to love your country without thinking that you belong to the best one. Patriotism that doesn’t spill over into nationalism. If a sport event can teach all this, then it is worth living it, even if it is only through the hopes, the cheers, the disillusionment and the joys that come out of a small TV in a dusty, noisy bar of East Africa.

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