A brief analysis of the significance and implementation of the Olympic values in the 21st century

30 May

I entered an essay contest re. the Olympic Values. The topic was given as the following – “a 400 – 500 word essay that addresses their interpretation of the meaning of Olympic Values for the 21st Century and outlines a creative way to realize them in the years ahead through sport, education, culture, or other public initiatives.”

My first draft ended up being somewhat lengthier and I ended up having to delete large parts thereof. I decided to post my initial draft on my blog, while I entered my much briefer final draft.

May you find my take on the Olympic Values of some value

 – Schroeds

A value in the broadest context refers to an ideal which serves as guideline or principle to a group or an individual. As a collective the values we abide by often dictate our sense of right and wrong, our priorities and our general moral perspective. Therefore many companies and organisations employ a set of values according to which they would like to manage, operate and function. This is ideal as values are not limited to a specific demography or group and allows for a diverse and inclusive environment, which excludes none on the basis of perspective, religious affiliation, life style or culture, while providing great opportunity for positive growth and integrity-driven operations. Value driven management leaves space for the opinions, feelings, views and perspectives of both minority and majority groups and for the individual.

In the 21st century in which the Olympic Movement caters to an exceedingly diverse world, values are of enormous significance in providing moral guidelines for the Olympics to abide by without alienating or excluding a group or individual. They also serve to unite the great number of organisations and associations affiliated with the Olympic Games which exists in this century under a similar charter and manner of operation. In addition the adoption of the Olympic values across the world can lead to a progressive, inclusive society which provides opportunities for positive growth and integrity-driven leadership to be established.

The three Olympic values are respect, friendliness and excellence. The values apply across a broad spectrum, but none more so than respect. To have respect applies on numerous level and probably applies first and foremost to having self-respect. In the simplest terms maintaining self-respect involves placing positive value on your own actions, honouring ones beliefs and maintaining a healthy life style. Respect is of particular importance as a value as it not only dictates how one behaves within himself but also in relation to all others. To respect something or someone is to hold it in high regard and to act with reverence when dealing with the involved individual, group or institution.

Respect for the culture, religion, life choices and opinions of others – be it an institution, a friend, colleague or competitor – creates an environment which is capable of hosting an infinitely diverse group.

To employ friendliness as a value in the 21st century does not merely mean to not engage someone in an antagonizing manner, but to behave with geniality, kindness and amiability towards someone.

To strive for excellence is an ideal as old as time – to simply be the best you can be by working as hard as possible to fulfil your own potential.

To see the Olympic values become more widely revered it is essential for organisations and individuals affiliated with the Olympic Movement to adopt them not only officially, but to truly implement these values in all dealings with the public, with athletes, internally and when establishing policy. To expect these values to be adopted by followers of the Olympics is impossible if the international sports federations, National Olympic Committees and Olympians don’t abide by them too. It is perhaps the opportunity of the athletes competing in the Olympics to illustrate the values through the manner that they live and compete which capable of having the greatest impact as they serve as role models and are admired by young and old alike.

Once the athletes and Olympic affiliated bodies adopt the values – which should be easy to accomplish as the values are so universally relevant and of clear importance that few will deny or resist the implementation – the real challenge begins. To take advantage of the wide reach of the Olympics and it’s athletes so that individuals and institutions are informed of the values, how they apply and realize the value of implementing value driven thinking in sport, education, leadership and social development.

The best possible method in which to do so is to employ a wide variety of platforms on which the values are prominently displayed. As athletes have an incredibly wide reach it would be hugely beneficially to involve several high profile Olympians to participate in online and print media campaigns to raise awareness of the Olympic values. The utilisation of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and perhaps the Chinese substitute for Twitter, Weibo, could have an immense impact on the level of global awareness of the values. This is arguably the first time in the history of the Olympics that social media could change the world’s awareness on a specific topic – to take advantage of that by employing these platforms by having athletes promote the values on their accounts would add greatly to the world wide adoption of the values.

In addition to raising awareness via various media in the immediate future and especially during the Olympics, long term projects to educate the youth could most efficiently be implemented via sport as the National Olympic Associations of each country and International Federations is already intimately involved with many sports on grassroots level. The adoption of the values could most easily be implemented in already established programs.

With the international appeal that the Olympics and the athletes that participate in the Olympics has, the responsible course of action, with regards to the Olympic values, would be to develop the understanding and awareness of the values as far and wide as possible. Value driven decision-making and value-driven leadership can truly make the world a better place.



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